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First Dog Fala Hardcover – September 1, 2008
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Through the life of Murry the Outlaw of Fala Hill, aka Fala, FDR’s black Scottish terrier, children get a glimpse into life at the White House during the five years Fala lived there. The narrative alternates between Fala’s antics on his own—chasing butterflies in the yard outside FDR’s office, escaping to roam the streets of Washington—and the role Fala played in FDR’s life. A two-sentence afterword with a photo of the statue of FDR and Fala in Washington completes the book. An attractive design with portrait-like illustrations in muted, rich colors gives Fala’s story a dignified look. The amiable text combined with the handsome illustrations and design will draw children into this account of a real charmer and might encourage them to seek out one of the many books about other White House pets or more information about the Roosevelts and their time. Preschool-Grade 3. --Randall Enos
"...an engaging package." --Kirkus
"...full of fun facts...giving kids a picture of a president that makes him seem more human thanks to his canine friend." --San Francisco Chronicle
"...a real charmer..." --Booklist
"...a delightful, quick read..." --School Library Journal Blog
"...certain to appeal to every caucus group..." --Worcester Telegram & Gazette Online Paper
"The subtle, color illustrations bring to life this true story from Fala's diminutive point of view, in this wonderful picturebook especially recommended for young dog lovers." --Children's Bookwatch
"...this story entertains as well as educates." --Library Media Connection
"...does a remarkable job of showing the monumental events which were taking place in Roosevelt's life and in the world." --The Carroll News
"...charmingly illustrated...humorous and endearing..." --The News Tribune
"Sure to appeal to young animal lovers and history buffs alike." --Washington Parent
Top customer reviews
Pick up this book and you get a story about a Scottish terrier, one of this century's giants, and a nation on the brink of war. Oh, and throw in a lovely tale of friendship and joy and art that evokes this pivotal time in history. That's a superb combination of storytelling, a history lesson, and art on a "grand" scale. ("Grand" was one of FDR's words.)
This is a book that will engage and entertain younger readers and cause adults to smile. The friendship of Fala and FDR (note who gets top billing here) is a story of devotion worth telling to younger readers; it's also one that is hopefully familiar to adults.
Fala, FDR and their historic stage are drawn and painted with a style that tips its top hat to Thomas Hart Benton. The oil paintings and sketches draw us back to another time, and isn't that one of the perks of good visual storytelling?
It's about time the Fala/FDR lovefest got some modern press.
What a dog, what a man, and what a friendship.
It is a very, very good deal that author Elizabeth Van Steenwyk and illustrator Michael Montgomery have offered to all of us.
I received two copies of the book earlier today and have been very impressed on two counts.
Elizabeth Van Steenwyk digests the true story of the President's pooch into kid-size/bite-size chunks that catch the flavor of the relationship between one of the world's most powerful men - and his dog.
Michael G. Montgomery did an absolutely outstanding job rendering Fala and his world in a retro 1930s style that looked genuine in composition - not concocted - subdued in color but rich in texture.
So this is a very nice book, for kiddies or grown folk with an interest in history or a love of dogs.
All around this little book serves as a very good story and teaching tool.