Review Detail

Dogs as protection and comfort
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Stubby was adopted from the streets of Boston by Bob Conroy, who managed to sneak him on the ship his unit took to Europe. Once they arrived, the commanding officer allowed the dog to be the mascot of the group as long as he didn't interfere. Stubby proved his worth by alerting men to poison gas, killing rats, and generally improving morale. As Conroy's unit was involved in a broad cross section of WWI activity, and we see the battles and movement through Stubby's eyes. The dog is even injured and in hospital for six weeks at one point, and even loses a friend on the battle field. He and Bob are still in Europe for the Armistice, and once they return to the US go on tour. Stubby was quite the celebrity, meeting General Pershing, the president, and traveling extensively in his retirement.
Good Points
There were a lot of details about how the military units were set up, how soldiers lived their daily lives, and what happened on the battle field, in the trenches, and in the hospital. Covering the Armistice was particularly brilliant, and the information about Stubby's further career is helpful. Stubby's eventual demise (from old age) is circumspectly covered so as not to upset young readers.

The inclusion of pictures brought Stubby to life in a vivid way. It's amazing how worn and grainy these pictures are after only 100 years, but even that brings home the fact that WWI was some time ago!

No matter how well written books from a dog's point of view are, there are always some awkward moments when I doubted that Stubby had a good working knowledge of politics, but certainly his views of daily life in the trenches, especially saving soldiers from impending gas attacks, were vivid and easy to understand.

While there are a couple of other books about Stubby, this one is just the right length and level of detail for somewhat younger readers who are very interested in World War I. There are not nearly as many stories about that war as there are about WWII, so I'm definitely glad to buy this one as well as Judy: Prisoner of War. Hand this to readers who love Tarshis' I Survived books or London's Dogs of War.
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