by Bobbie Pyron
Arther A. Levine Books, 2012
Middle Grade Adventure
Grades 3 and up
Print copy received as part of blog tour in return for honest review.
All opinions expressed in this review are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK
A small boy, a cruel city, and the incredible dogs who save him.
Based on a true story!
When Ivan's mother disappears, he's abandoned on the streets of Moscow, with little chance to make it through the harsh winter. But help comes in an unexpected form: Ivan is adopted by a pack of dogs, and the dogs quickly become more than just his street companions: They become his family. Soon Ivan, who used to love reading fairytales, is practically living in one, as he and his pack roam the city and countryside, using their wits to find food and shelter, dodging danger, begging for coins. But Ivan can’t stay hidden from the world of people forever. When help is finally offered to him, will he be able to accept it? Will he even want to?
A heart-pounding tale of survival and a moving look at what makes us human.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bobbie was born in Hollywood, Florida and spent her growing up years up in the panhandle, swimming in the Gulf of Mexico and dreaming of being a mermaid. She has degrees in Psychology and Anthropology, and a Masters degree in Library Science, and has worked as a librarian for over twenty-five years.
Her first book, a novel for teens titled The Ring (WestSide Books), was published in October of 2009. Her second book, A Dog's Way Home (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books), was published to starred reviews in March of 2011. The Dog Writers Association of America recently awarded Bobbie the Maxwell Medal of Excellence and the Merial Human-Animal Bond Award. It was also named a Banks Street Best Books of the Year.
Her new book, The Dogs of Winter (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic), came out October of 2012. The Dogs of Winter is a Junior Library Guild Selection and a Kirkus Best 100 Children's Books of the Year. Bobbie lives in Park City, Utah with her husband, three dogs, and two cats.
Bobbie's Website. Be sure to check out her biography, lots of fun information. Including the following:
Ten Things You Don't Know About Me:
- I once stuck a piece of popcorn up my nose (because I didn't like the babysitter) and never got it out!
- My sister, mother, and I lived for two weeks on The Queen Elizabeth II, a very famous and historic ocean liner.
- My great-great-great aunt is Harriot Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin.
- My favorite word is “wilderness”
- I've never ridden a roller coaster
- Given a choice, I'd rather have popcorn than chocolate
- I cannot for the life of me whistle
- The town where I live, Park City, is at an elevation of 7,000 feet!
- Some of the more unusual jobs I've had are: dog trainer, gladiola harvester, wilderness education instructor
- I have never ever changed a diaper
Bobbie Pyron has a gift for creating characters that live in my heart. She did it with A Dog's Way Home and she's done it with this one, The Dogs of Winter. Mishka won me over in the first few pages and my heart ached for the little boy's suffering and confusion. When his mother takes up with a 'bad' man who uses and abuses them both, Mishka (Little Bear) continues to believe in his mother's love and devotion even when he is forced to sleep in the pantry and goes hungry. But when his mother 'leaves' and the bad man tries to put him in an orphange, he runs away and lives on the streets, first with other children and then a group of dogs. When someone finally steps up to help, he doesn't want to leave his dog family and must face the challenges of learning to be around people again.
I'll admit right out that this story broke my heart, mostly because it's based on a true story and because there are undoubtedly many children like Mishka who struggle to simply get enough to eat and yet yearn for love and family. I wanted to dive into the story, take Mishka in my arms and just love him. Pyron has created an emotionally powerful story about survival, love, and healing. This is not a story I will ever forget. Her love for dogs comes shining through loud and clear. I am not a huge dog person, but her books make me love and appreciate the good that dogs can do. I highly recommend this story for those who are emotionally mature enough to handle it. It is a truly thought-provoking and unforgettable read.
NOTE: Be sure to come back on Monday for my interview with Bobby Pyron and a giveaway of the book!