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Mountain Dog Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); 1 edition (August 13, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805095160
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805095166
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,622 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4-7–Eleven-year-old Tony has had a tough life and now his mother, an immigrant, is in prison for training fighting pit bulls. Fortunately, his great uncle agrees to take him in. Tío is a forest ranger who, along with his dog Gabe, rescues people lost in the wilderness. Suddenly, Tony is living far from Los Angeles in the Sierra Nevada. Written in free verse, this story is told from the perspectives of Tony and Gabe. The chocolate lab senses the boy's internal struggles as he deals both with his sadness about his mother and his wonder at this beautiful new place. Wise and kind, Tío begins to train Tony to work with the rescue volunteers and gives his nephew the best gift of all when he welcomes him into his home permanently, helping him gain the confidence he needs to begin planning a positive future. Gabe's insights into Tony's struggles and his vividly captured doggy enthusiasm and devotion keep the story upbeat. The bond that develops between the canine and boy makes this book an inspiring read that will be especially believable to dog lovers. Black-and-white drawings appear throughout the story, and these empathetic depictions of the characters, animals, and setting capture the spirit of the text. A thoughtful and sensitive story that touches on immigration, family, and other serious issues.–Carol Schene, formerly at Taunton Public Schools, MAα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Tony moves to Sierra Nevada with his forest ranger great uncle, following his mother’s arrest for dog fighting. Tony quickly connects with Gabe, Tío Leonilo’s search-and-rescue dog. With the help of Gabe, and through writing a blog and poetry, Tony settles into his new life of search and rescue; Cowboy Church, with its dogs and horses; loud Gracie from school; and trips to visit his mother in prison. He works hard to overcome his fear of math, which had always meant calculating dog bets, so that he can study veterinary science in college. Tony’s transformation is told in free verse that alternates between Tony’s and Gabe’s voices. Clear, strong language captures Tony’s pain, and while the ending is tidy, his relationship with his mom remains complicated and honest. The details about search and rescue, the Pacific Coast trail, and dogs and bears keep the book’s action high and will appeal to wilderness fans. Black-and-white illustrations complete the package. Grades 3-6. --Suzanne Harold

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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In a very simle way, complex issues have been dealt with for chilfren.
Himri
It has great characters, teaches good lessons and kept her interest through out the entire book.
M. Brown
Tony comes to love Gabe and his uncle along with life in the mountains.
C. Stephans

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By PeaTee TOP 500 REVIEWER on August 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
**Some Possible Spoilers Depending on how you define 'spoiler'**

MOUNTAIN DOG is one of those few books that while I'm reading it I think 'Lit Class'. What I mean by that is that I would have much rather have read and discussed this book in English class than the Red Badge of Courage.

One reason I like the book --from a school sort of focus-- is that it's not overly long. Second it's told in a prose form that's a little different, and to top it off it's a story that I think is going to appeal to both genders. And finally, there is simply a lot to discuss. Possible topics range from dog fighting and animal rights, to prose format, immigration, a parent in prison, to nature, and healing.
.

The story is about a boy who's mom is not a good person. She is, in fact, just arrived in jail as the book begins for fighting pit bulls. She's the type of disgusting person that dragged her sweet son into this wretched world of dog baiting/killing; the type of person that has a tattooed tear for every dog of hers that died in a fight.

But the story only touches upon her peripherally, for the tale revolves around this boy who has been hurt by his mother, and the uncle and dog who tries to help heal him. I won't say more except to say that the narrative is divided between that of the boy, and that of the Uncle's dog, Gabe.

Which brings me to what worked for me, and didn't, and the dilemma I have as far as a Star Rating.

The boy's side of the story totally worked for me. I could feel and understand his confusion and fear. It was palpable how conflicted he was about his mother. He wants to see her, for example, but not every want to go back to live with her.

What didn't work for me so well was the dog's side of the story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl Stout TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What a different type children's book this is! It is told in alternating chapters from the perspectives of Tony, a boy, and Gabe, a rescue dog. Tony goes to live with his great-uncle Tío Leonilo, who is a forest ranger and also a Search and Rescue worker, after his mother is put in prison for dog fighting with pit bulls.

The book does a wonderful job telling about Search and Rescue operations in the Sierra Nevada mountains. But what it does an even better job of is telling the reader about Tony's feelings. He's lonely, scared, wanting to hear from his mother but not really, and finally hopeful for a different, disciplined life.

I loved this book. I thought it very age appropriate for 8-12 year olds, grades 3-6, and I think both boys and girls will like the story. I thought the manner in which the author formatted her chapters was unusual - it read like poetry - and moved very quickly.

I also liked the black and white illustrations done by Olga and Aleksey Ivanov. They added nicely to the story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Antigone Walsh VINE VOICE on August 31, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is the story of a young boy forced to participate in his mother's vicious dog fighting ring. When the mother is sent off to jail, he is fostered by a great uncle he didn't know he had. The uncle lives in a rural area and is active in search and rescue. For the first time, the young boy experiences the beauty life has to offer and the love and patience of both the uncle and the dog. The story is told from different points of view, including that of the dog.

I liked the idea of this book more than the execution. The ink drawings have appeal but the free verse is boring. The author is more successful communicating from the perspective of the dog than she is conveying the emotions of an embittered and abandoned urban tween. The flat prose lends little emotion to the story and the author missed an opportunity to express true revulsion against the brutality of dog fighting. She demonstrated little command of either criminal justice or foster care. Still the dogs are appealing and the camping/hiking tips are useful. The bland narration mutes otherwise hot button issues. Younger kids will doubt be entranced by the search and rescue dog but older ones will most likely be bored by the dull, one tone prose.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Editor of Lillian's Diaries VINE VOICE on July 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Mountain Dog" by Margarita Engle is the story of an 11 year old boy - Tony - who is sent to stay with his great-uncle - Tio - who he has never met. Tony's mother who has been sent to prison and slowly throughout the book the reader will learn about her, the reason she is in prison and why she is the way she is now. She is the only relative Tony knew until the story begins.Tony finds a different kind of life in the Sierra Nevadas where his great-uncle lives which is so different from the big city where he and his mother lived. It is a whole new world and everyday is another challenge as this boy starts life over, although Tio's dog Gabe becomes an instant guide and friend to the boy.

The book is written in a unique way with one short chapter told by Tony followed by another short chapter told by Gabe the Dog. Each is expressing their thoughts and feelings about each other, their lives in the mountains, their relationships with Tio and their surroundings. It takes awhile to get use to the incomplete sentences, free standing words and poetry like placement on the page, but gradually the reader will fall into the pattern of the words which flow beautifully like poems. There are pencil drawings throughout the book which will give an image of a person, animal or experience helping to build the foundation for the words to stand upon.

The suggested audience for the book is children eight years and up. I would say that the book would not be for every child, but would lend itself to a 10-12 year old who loves to read and is willing to adapt to the word presentation and to stop and think about what has been really said in each chapter. It is certainly a book that could be a "chapter book" read by child and adult and then followed by a discussion after most chapters.
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