Search and Rescue Ranger
Ranger, a failed rescue dog (squirrels are so distracting!), has a first aid kit that sends him through time to help children who need him. In this latest installment, he is sent to the Ninth Ward to help out Clare Porter. Clare is home alone with her grandmother after her father has gone to get gas for the car so they can evacuate. Her mother and brother are already visiting relatives away from the city. Clare starts to panic when her father doesn't come back, because her grandmother struggles with dementia and Clare remembers the stories her father had told about other storms that required the family to hack through the attic roof with an ax and wait there for rescue! As the waters begin to rise in the house and her father has still not returned, Clare puts together some provisions and takes her grandmother into the attic. It's hot and stuffy, and the smell of the sewage water rising is overwhelming. At one point, her grandmother is able to be taken by helicopter, but there isn't enough room for Clare. At least she has Ranger with her to wait. It seems like a good idea to make it to her father's row boat that is tied to a nearby shed and therefore bobbing in the dirty waters, and Clare is able to help several people get to the Superdome area before the boat is damaged. Because of Ranger's rescue dog abilities, she is soon reunited with both her grandmother and her father, so Ranger's work is done.
The author's notes at the end, complete with some black and white pictures of places mentioned, are very helpful in bringing this event, which occurred before most middle schoolers today were born, to life. Clare and her family are representative of the population of this area, and the notes also indicate that the Ninth Ward has not really made as much progress in bouncing back from the event as one would hope.
There have been a good number of history books written about this time period, but not many for readers in elementary school. There is Brown's nonfiction graphic work Drowned City : Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, as well as many short nonfiction books about the event, as well as lots of fiction: Tarshis I Survived Hurricane Katrina, Herlong's Buddy, Wood's Saint Louis Armstrong Beach, Smith's Another Kind of Hurricane, , Volponi's Hurricane Song: A Novel of New Orleans, Philbrick's Zane and the Hurricane: A Story of Katrina, Paley's Hooper Finds a Family: A Hurricane Katrina Dog's Survival Tale, Rhodes' The Ninth Ward, and Lamana's Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere. Interestingly enough, a disproportionate amount of these books involve dogs, so Ranger is in good company!