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Bravest Dog Ever: Story of Balto (Step into Reading) Library Binding – March 25, 2003

4.8 out of 5 stars 211 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-3–Balto, a sled dog, and his team traverse 53 miles of ice and snow in the Alaskan wilderness to deliver medicine in this 48-page beginning reader by Natalie Standiford (Random, 1989). Donald Cook's full-color illustrations are expressive, and John Gabriel's narration is slow enough for students to follow along. Music and sound effects add to the overall appeal of this story that is based on an actual event. One track has page-turn signals. Ideal for classroom listening or independent reading.–Leigh Ann Rumsey, Penn Yan Academy, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A compelling account, told in easy-to-read format, of a sled dog who led his team over 53 miles of Alaska wilderness to deliver medicine during an outbreak of diphtheria in 1925. Cook's softly colored illustrations enhance the drama of a proud and heroic story that young readers are sure to enjoy."--School Library Journal.


From the Trade Paperback edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 3
  • Series: Step into Reading
  • Library Binding: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers; Library edition edition (March 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039499695X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394996950
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (211 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,254,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Natalie Standiford was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, but now lives in New York City. She plays bass in the rock bands Tiger Beat (featuring fellow YA writers Libba Bray, Dan Ehrenhaft, and Barney Miller) and Ruffian. Find out more at her web site: www.nataliestandiford.com.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"This is a true story about a very brave dog."
It's 1925 in the sub-zero, treacherous region of Nome, Alaska. Two children stricken with diphtheria need medicine, but the train that carries it gets stuck in the snow, 700 miles from Nome. The town's only hope is a 21-team dog sled relay to deliver the precious medicine. Balto, the head dog on the second to the last run, leads his team through blinding snowdrifts and over a frozen river, and around cracking ice, and reaches Nome almost ten days before the expected arrival. He becomes famous: In New York City, thousands of miles away, a statue of Balto is put up in Central Park.
This is an exciting book, with soft, slighted muted illustrations and short sentences, is an excellent book (especially for adventure and dog lovers) for the reader in from around grades 1 through 3. The suspenseful narration and the real heroics of Balto and his driver (along with the 20 other dog teams) make for a dramatic story. 48 pages, includes map of the trail to Nome.
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Format: Library Binding
I can't be the only Mom that gets frustrated by this. I go to buy early reading books and encounter ONLY TV- and movie- marketed characters in the books. I would like better choices.

Anyway, Balto was the only Step-3 book in the store that did NOT have a Princess or SpongeBob on the cover, so we got it. I expected to get some flack from the child who is afraid of dogs, but even he liked it fairly well.

Balto is a sled dog in 1925 who participates in a relay. The purpose is to bring medicine to an Alaskan town with a diphtheria epidemic, carrying it through a driving blizzard and terrible conditions. Balto had the second-to-last leg of the relay, but when it was time to hand off to another team, the other team was not there. So Balto and his team kept going. Since he was the dog who made it into town with the medicine, he got the credit for the whole adventure! We talked about the other dog teams and drivers who had to come through the deep snow, and how all those teams working together got the job done.

Here is what the first grader liked best about the story (his words):
+ There is a map. Maps are good.
+ The dog kept going.
+ The doctor helped the sick children.
+ I like the picture of the statue of Balto.
+ Balto was a hero.

Here is what the Mom liked in the story:
+ It would have been easy to quit, but the driver and his sled team kept going, despite miserable conditions.
+ The words were just challenging enough.
+ I liked the map, too.
+ The illustrations are wonderful. The book has fairly many pages (48), but the pictures keep up the excitement.
Read more ›
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By A Customer on October 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
I thought the book was appropriate for the language of most 2nd graders. It was also entertaining and adventurous. The students could not wait to read what was going to happen next. The plot was easy to follow.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
...can keep these packs of hardy huskies and malamutes from delivering the antitoxin to Nome during the 1925 Diptheria Epidemic!

No train can get through due to the snow. The train that was originally transporting the medicine got mired in snow, more than 700 miles from its destination. Only a sled team of hardy dogs can reach the stricken town. Balto, the lead dog on one of the latter legs of that fateful run led a team of hardy malamutes and huskies some 53 miles. He led the team through adverse weather and land conditions including blizzards and a froxen river. The curly tailed dog is credited for seeing the medicine through; it is on his run that the medicine arrived 10 days ahead of schedule.

This book will delight and excite young readers who will wait with baited breath (even though they know the malamute team will reach the town like the Calvary). The delightful illustrations make a good thing even better. The history of the hardy Eskimo dog, the sled dog driver and the dog teams will provide a part of history that will be revived and discussed for a long time to come. Adding the map of the dog sled trail was an excellent teaching device.

Matthew Wilders' 1983 "Ain't Nothing Gonna Break My Stride" and McFadden & Whitehead's 1979 runaway train "Ain't No Stopping Us Now" could be the soundtracks for this book.
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A Kid's Review on May 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
Yeah, I know. Some reviewer called Balto a fraud. He wasn't. He really did lead his sled team through 53 miles in subzero temperatures, though he wasn't the bravest dog ever(Togo was), so I took one star off. But his story deserves to be told just as much as Togo's, and yes, I love that husky Togo and his bravery (He lead 260 miles). It is 1925. There's an epidemic of diphtheria sweeping through Nome, and sled dogs are needed to deliver desperately needed serum. But in the subzero temperatures, will they make it? This is an excellent introduction to the Iditarod for children. (Oh, and by the way, Balto didn't try to claim all the glory. He was forced to run, though he was considered too 'weak' to do so. I call that animal abuse. He certainly proved he wasn't 'weak' since he ran 53 miles! Gunnar Kaasen even abandoned him to a dime museum later on! BAD pet keeper!)
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