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Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine & a Miracle Hardcover – November 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2–5—A true story of a feral dog from Iraq that found a home in the United States. In October 2007, Border Transition Team 3/5/2 arrived at the border of Iraq and Syria. The team members were greeted by a pack of wild dogs, whose leader became known as "Nubs" because of his docked ears. He developed a bond with Dennis, and as the troops would come and go over the course of several weeks, they were always greeted by the dogs. Nubs exhibited signs of malnutrition and abuse yet he continued to seek food and companionship from the Marines, often trying to follow them when they'd leave. In December 2007, when they relocated to the Jordanian border, 70 miles away, he embarked on a treacherous journey across the desert and, two days later, walked into the camp. Because Marine regulations prohibit the keeping of pets in a war zone, Major Dennis and his men collected donations and arranged to send Nubs to the United States. He was eventually reunited with the dog in 2008. The narrative, which sometimes lacks clarity, includes a substantial amount of original documentation—photos taken by members of the 3/5/2, emails from Dennis to his friends in San Diego, and copies of the State Department "passport" allowing Nubs to travel. This is a feel-good entry in the current trend of inspirational true animal stories.—Kara Schaff Dean, Walpole Public Library, MA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Brian Dennis is the major in the Marines. He and Nubs live in San Diego.

Kirby Larson is the acclaimed author of the 2007 Newbery Honor book, Hattie Big Sky. Her most recent title is Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship and Survival, co-written with Mary Nethery. Kirby lives in Kenmore, Washington.

Mary Nethery is the author of many picture books, including Hannah and Jack, Mary Veronica's Egg, and Orange Cat Goes to Market. Mary lives in Eureka, California.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 810L (What's this?)
  • Series: AWARDS: Kentucky Bluegrass Awards 2011, Grades 3-5
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (November 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031605318X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316053181
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 0.5 x 11.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (192 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #237,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

92 of 92 people found the following review helpful By Brian Franklin on October 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful story of the mutual devotion and the warm bond found between people and their pets... with a twist. Brian Dennis is a great, colorful writer, and there are little touches within the book - from his email dispatches to maps and photography, that make this true story hit home. My 7 year old son, as soon as we finished, said it best: "Dad, that was a great story!"

Major Dennis, and all those that helped make this story a happy one, deserve great praise. This book should be a staple in every home - and I'd particularly recommend it to those parents who want to teach their kids to respect animals. It also highlights the power of small, compassionate groups of people who are determined to save a life - furry or otherwise.
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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By animal lover on November 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Last night, my eight year old son and I had the pleasure of meeting both Major Dennis and Nubs and to hear their wonderful story. As an avid animal lover, it was truly inspiring to hear the lengths that the Major went to in order to bring Nubs home. The story of what that poor dog and countless more like him had to endure in war torn Iraq is heartbreaking; however when you hear Dennis's story and the bond that the two have forged, it will bring a smile to your face and tears to your eyes.

The book is lovely, full of photos, the story uplifting. Seeing Nubs with the Major, I truly believe that he understands how much he is loved and the lengths the Major went to to bring him home. A wonderful story for children and adults alike, it shows the human side of the men and women who serve; the need for interaction, love and kindness. Job well done Major; thank you!
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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By B. Davis on November 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
What a wonderful story of love, loyality, and a dog that would not give up. This is a tale of the beauty of miracles in the mist of the ugliness of war. Nubs will show that love between a man and his dog can overcome anything. Children will love this book and remember it as a favorite. It teaches them that animals have personalities, should be valued and respected, and are very special. Highly recommended.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Shirley A. Johnson on November 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Every animal lover should own this book. What a great story of love perserverance and devotion. I dare you not to cry. It is such a moving story. Before I read it I was trying to decide which of my children it would be appropriate for. The answer is every age will get something out of this book, parents and children alike. Don't miss a great read. It will make your day!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on November 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The subtitle for this book is "The True Story of a Mutt, A Marine, and a Miracle," and it is certainly that. Marine Major Brian Dennis, a fighter pilot by training, was leading leading border patrols in western Iraq when he came upon pack of wild dogs led by a wiry mutt with clipped ears. (Iraqi's believe that clipping a dog's ears makes it 'tough' and reduces the area that an opposing dog can grab onto.) The pack was living on desert mice and rats, and scraps from local Iraqi soldiers.

It took awhile, but eventually Major Dennis was able to make friends with the dog, whom he named "Nubs." Periodically, Dennis and his men would leave for several days before returning. There Nubs would be waiting. On the unit's last return, however, Nubs hung back - he'd been stabbed by locals using a screwdriver. Major Dennis and his corpsman treated the wound and gave Nubs antibiotics, but the dog was too sore to eat and drink, and had difficulty even lying down.

The next day the patrol drove off to a location 70 miles away, leaving Nubs and the pack behind. Two days later, despite 18 degree nights and the dangers of a wild desert and war zone, Nubs appeared at Major Dennis' new location, much worse for wear. Despite military prohibition against keeping animals, the group adopted Nubs, and even built him a doghouse. Unfortunately, some of Major Dennis' two-legged 'friends' reported this heinous violation, and he was given four days to get rid of the dog, "or else."

Major Dennis acted quickly, creating a web-based appeal for funds to help pay the cost of sending Nubs to his home in San Diego, and arranging for his interpreter's brother to help implement move.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Grier Jewell on November 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Probably one of the hardest things to write is a story told partly from the point of view of a dog, but Kirby Larson and Mary Nethery make it look effortless. Not once do they veer from Nubs true dogginess, or turn this into a saccharine sweet tale. NUBS is powerful because it's so well told. Including the email messages from Major Dennis and photos of Nubs give this book just the right ring. I give it a solid 5 paw rating. Great for kids and adults alike. Woof!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Uberbabyboomer on October 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover
From the hearts of two amazing authors comes this story of the astounding strength and caring that can exist between dogs and those who love them. An absolute must read for children everywhere of every age.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Deborah V VINE VOICE on November 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
If you are the person who tears up and cries at the Lassie theme or during Hallmark commercials, you might want to keep a tissue handy. There are some moments where you will cry from the emotion of happiness, thankfulness and more.

The story of Marine Major Brian Dennis and his dog Nubs has made the media rounds, but reading the words of the man who saved Nubs brings a very personal view point to the story. Dennis 'adopted' Nubs while serving in Iraq. He is named Nubs due to the practice of cutting the ears to the base to make the dog a dog of war.

Soldiers weren't allowed to have pets, so when Dennis had to leave him to go on assignment, Nubs trekked 70 miles to reunite with the man that captured his loyalty and his heart.

If this book was fiction, you'd probably think it was a bit contrived, but the story is true and it is such a story of love, devotion, bravery and loyalty by both human and dog! Like I said, if you cry at the Lassie theme or Hallmark commercials, you'll want your hankie near you!
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