Devastated by Germany�s conflict with the Soviet Union at the end of WWII, Mikhail, 13, and his family are struggling to survive in their rural Russian community, where everything German is hated and Mikhail�s father is missing in action. When the family shelters a beautiful German shepherd (they call her Zasha), they know they will be called traitors, but they bond with the beautiful dog, and they save her life by hiding her. Then they discover that she is pregnant. Can they build a safe shelter for her and her pups without being detected? What about the spies who see dog hair on Mikhail�s clothes? Mikhail�s first-person account will grab readers with the physical details of training and protecting his beloved pet as well as the history of the devastating war and its aftermath. Mikhail�s family does have a happy reunion, but Barrow reminds readers that so many others were not as lucky. A long historical note tells more about the abuse and misuse of dogs in warfare. Grades 4-7. --Hazel Rochman
"In tones crafted to delight the whole family, Roger Mueller presents the tale of Zasha, a beautiful German shepherd found by two boys in post-WWII Russia. The target of thieves and potential euthanasia because of her perceived German heritage, Zasha must be hidden from all except her family. Throughout the performance, Mueller employs a light accent meant to convey a Russian dialect. This deft touch keeps the listeners’ imaginations in that eastern European culture. At the same time, he maintains an upbeat and enthusiastic attitude throughout the story, subtly assuring his audience that a happy ending will ensue. Indeed it does, and listeners of all ages will be cheering for boys and dogs to the end."
--This text refers to the
R.L.L. - Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award - © AudioFile Portland, Maine