The Valley Forge Dog
By Ruth G. Zavitsanos
Illustrated by Cathy Peluso
62 pages – ages 8+
Published by Wild Child Publishing on October 23, 2015
Synopsis- Clay is a dog at Valley Forge, with his boy, Will. Will’s pa is in the Continental Army, fighting under General George Washington. Together, they are living through one of the harshest winters at Valley Forge. With the sick soldiers, deserters, and no supplies, it all looks rather bleak. But when General Washington’s wife pays a visit to the camp, morale rises – that’s not all, though. An Austrian military man shows up to train the troops, and it looks like they might actually stand a chance against the British forces.
What I Thought- The story was good, and I liked how Ms. Zavitsanos connected it to the present day. Like Ms. Zavitsanos’ other books (learn about them on her website), the voice of the book is interesting because it is narrated by a dog, giving it a very unique perspective. The book is a historical fiction story and one, because of the story being told through the eyes of a dog, that will interest many kids who wouldn’t normally pick up an historical fiction book. The story captures the desolation that the soldiers felt at Valley Forge and gave the reader a glimpse of what they had to suffer through. At 62 pages, it is a quick read that just touches on the winter at Valley Forge, but makes a nice story out of it. There was a nice little touch when it talked about the Austrian’s dog that he brought, and how it was a snooty kind of dog – something that the narrator would notice, seeing as he is a dog. The book is realistic, and makes you feel empathy for the soldiers. Ms. Zavitsanos has a good writing style that keeps you reading.
I give this book four out of five bookworms.