Review Detail

Escaping the Nazis with the help of dogs
Overall rating 
 
4.5
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0
Juliette's father is a baker in Belgium in 1944, and has been threatened by the occupying Nazis into giving them extra bread in exchange for protection. Since everyone is starving, Juliette's parents decide to leave town and hope that they can find somewhere safer. Juliette doesn't want to leave, and makes a last ditch attempt to go to the family's hidden house in the forest and alert the Kraismans, a Jewish family hiding there. When she arrives, she finds the door open and the house empty, and also that a bullying neighbor, Antoine, had been bringing them food. While searching the house, they hear German soldiers approach and hide, only to be caught in the house when it is set on fire. They manage to escape, but have to try to survive in the woods. At the same time, American forces are arriving from Alaska at the front line of the Battle of the Bulge. Two military dogs, Boss and Tank, end up finding the children, and the group takes off, trying to get to safety. It's treacherous, cold, and seemingly hopeless. Will Boss be able to get the children to safety and also fulfill his duty?
Good Points
All of the books in this series are a great length, and packed with action and adventure. They remind me a little of the mid century We Were There books in that they bring in children to participate in historic events, so there is a tween perspective to them that young readers can understand. Adding in military dogs, with plenty of notes about the battles at the end of the book, makes for a winning combination.

Juliette and Antoine are interesting characters, and the fact that they didn't know the other was helping the family as well makes an interesting point; during war, you make sure that secrets stay secrets. We never quite find out why Antoine had been so mean to Juliette, but they manage to forge a relationship after their harrowing time in the forest.

Readers of Calkhoven's G.I.Dogs, Hart's Dog Chronicles, and London's Dogs of War will want to collect all of these riveting tales of bravery and survival, and will look forward to the next installments, Heroes on the Homefront and Shipwreck on the High Seas.
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