Monday, November 17, 2014

Stubby the War Dog

Cover image for Stubby the war dog : the true story of world war I 's bravest dog

Stubby the Ward Dog: The True Story of World War I's Bravest Dog
by Ann Bausum
National Geographic Kids, 2014. Nonfiction, 72 p.

At the outset of WWI a mixed breed dog started hanging out around the field at Yale University where new military recruits were drilling.  He was befriended by J. Robert Conroy of the Yankee Division.  When it was time to ship out to Europe, Conroy smuggled the dog, whom he named Stubby because of his short tail, aboard the transport ship.  Very soon Stubby had endeared himself to the whole regiment and even learned to do a salute to commanding officers.  On the front, Stubby became an important addition to the war effort.  He cheered the troops in the trenches, carried messages, and helped to find wounded soldiers after battle.  He was even wounded twice, and was eventually awarded special medals for his faithful service. Bausum's writing is interesting and age appropriate, but she is also meticulous about sorting out legend from fact and noting her sources.  The book is illustrated with reproductions of historical photos and memorabilia that Conroy kept while Stubby was alive, and donated to the Smithsonian after the dog's death. This engaging nonfiction is a tribute to a brave dog, but also a child friendly introduction to American involvement in the Great War.

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