Darling, the book’s charming narrator, is an adventurous dog from a loving home in England. When WWI breaks out, the British army teaches her to be a mercy dog—one who locates wounded soldiers on the battlefield regardless of danger: gunfire, bomb blasts, poison gas, uneven terrain, and barbed wire. Renamed “War Dog 204,” Darling takes the reader from her village, to the training ground, and into the trenches of war-torn Belgium. She relates the sights, sounds, smells, and fears associated with war while valiantly putting her life on the line. In the heat of the Battle of Messines Ridge, Darling is wounded but manages to save trapped soldiers. This chapter book offers an introduction to the Great War but focuses on the unsung heroes of the battlefield. Darling’s tale is supplemented with interesting facts and background information about dogs and war, and this first book in the Dog Chronicles series will certainly delight young readers who love stories about their canine pals. Grades 3-5. --Jeanne Fredriksen
Alison Hart is the author of more than twenty books for young readers. Hart is a teacher at Blue Ridge Community College.