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I read it with Akiak by the same author, another lovely book about the bravery and skill of the sled dogs, beautifully illustrated and written, a true story. Another book to be kept for the grandchildrens library.
Here, a real Hero Dog has his story told. Togo was a brave dog. He ran the Serum Run when he was 12 years old and lost a toe in the process. He was retired to Connecticut and became the ancestor of almost every AKC-registered Siberian Husky in America today. For years his taxidermied remains were at Yale University. We can't forget Balto, either. Sepala thought Togo was his great dog, and that Balto was inferior stock, so he neutered him. Ballot's trainer had faith in him, though, and when he should have passed the serum off to Sepala and Togo, he passed them by. Balto did finish the run and deliver the serum. Here is where shame comes in. Sepala was angry, and eventually sold Balto. While Togo was retired to be a stud in Connecticut, poor Balto was used as a road-side attraction. He eventually ended his life at the Cleveland Zoo, where his Taxidermied remains are kept. Togo is a real dog hero, and did not bear Balto any ill-will (as was depicted in the Spielberg animated film), but the rivalry of the humans involved caused a lot of pain for an innocent animal. Ultimately, Balto became the more famous of these two hero dogs because his statue was erected in Central Park. More people need to know about Togo because his contributions were great, and he ran more of the Serum Run as a lead dog than any other dog, over terrain so rough he lost a toe, and he was 12-years-old, which is quite elderly as far as dogs go. Togo deserved his retirement in cushy, upperclass style and his status as progenitor of almost every AKC Siberian Husky alive today.
I so wanted to like this book! The illustration style was it's only saving grace. The story line was an utter disappointment!!! There was so much room on the pages to tell the reader what was going on & how harsh the conditions were & how dangerous things were! If I had not just finished "The Cruelest Miles" I would have just thought this way a little more than a walk in the park & children deserve way more than that! The book should make sure that the adult reading the book to their child know the subject matter , so they can explain what is going on. I would give the wrighting a one star at best considering how it should have covered to the reader how treacherous the terrain & how close to the fatal edge of dander they were. The reader could have learned so much more!! There was so much room for the text, I can't figure out why the author just couldn't enrich the readers mind with the lovely pictures.
The illustrations are the reason to by this book! They are remarkable and could be framed! This story is about the true hero of the serum run for delivering serum to a remote village in Alaska. This dog ran more miles in worse weather than any other on the trip. Balto has a statue and gets credit for saving the village. Balto was the last lead dog in the legs of the journey. Togo was the one who ran the most miles and kept his team going through the worst weather. Wonderful book! Great for early readers or to read to children in a class.
If you love Balto, you have to love Togo. The story of the mushers and their dogs--especially lead dogs-- and the race to get diphtheria vaccine to stricken Nome, Alaska is always breathtaking in its heroism and sense of community and commitment. Togo may not have a statute in central park, but he should have, right beside Balto. My grand-kids love this story. And attached to its excellence is another great book on the same epic heroism: The Cruelest Miles...best non-fiction I've read in five years.
This book is thoroughly enjoyable and provides a well-told account of the amazing journey to provide life-saving vaccines. By only reasons for not giving it a full five stars were that I thought some of the illustrations might be a bit scary to younger children, and also I thought that the story ended rather abruptly -- it is good, but be prepared to answer youngsters questions such as "Did Togo get the people the medicine?" and "Why didn't Togo get to finish his race?" See also Big Enough Anna, by Pam Flowers, for a very different story that also involves sled dogs.
I bought this book after borrowing it from the library and reading it with my children. It has a great message about those unspoken heros and about commitment and focus. There's not too many truly inspiring children's books out there, today. it seems we're always trying to entertain our kids, but this, in my view, is a drug of another kind. This book illustrates a real hero, one that was a dog, but like some people, had an indomitable spirit.
My neighbor told me she had all her friends trying to find this book for her 8year old grandson. I found it immediately on Amazon! We all love this story and anything Robert Blake has written. Thanks Amazon!!!