Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Dogs of War

Dogs of War by Sheila Keenan is one of the best graphic novels I've read all month. It has three stories about three different dogs fighting in three different wars. Each chapter is about a different dog. The first chapter is about Boots, a medic dog in World War 1, who would find the location of wounded soldiers in No Mans Land, then run back to tell the medic. The second chapter is about Loki, who was a rescue sled dog in World War 2, who would find lost soldiers or downed pilots in Greenland. The third chapter is about Sheba, who was a scout dog, sniffing out enemy soldiers in Vietnam.

I really like how the book gets me to sympathize with each character in such
a short amount of time. I thought that each dog would be really forgettable because not enough time would be dedicated to them, but I ended up loving each of them a whole lot. To be fair, Sheba was a little forgettable, but that's only because the chapter was more about her master than her.

The art in this book really added to my enjoyment. The drawings are very colorful and each chapter has a certain glow to it. Chapter one is dark violet, chapter two is light blue, and chapter three is dark green. Intentional or not, this little feature gives the book a lot of personality. I have a feeling that I would not have enjoyed it as much without these beautiful drawings.

I'm not sure if Dogs of War is appropriate for all ages. I'll leave that up to you. There are some fairly violent scenes and images in it. If you're reading it in a public place, I would suggest you shield the cover with your hand, because there is a Nazi with a big fat swastika on his arm on the cover. It's just a suggestion. I would give Dogs of War 9 military dogs out of ten.  

P.S. The dogs in the stories did not actually exist, but they were based on real military dogs.

P.P.S. If you want to know more about war dogs, heres a link to a very interesting site about animals in WW1


  1. Hi, Milo--I really appreciate your reviews, both as a reader and as a librarian who works with kids and teenagers. We have this book at my library, but it's checked out at the moment. I'll grab it when it comes back in!

    Do you think that the dogs in the stories would have chosen to go to war (if they had a choice and could have expressed it)? I know that many soldiers didn't (and don't) *choose* to go to war, but are committed to it for other reasons.

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  3. Milo, that's a great review! I picked up Dogs of War when I was proofreading my son's essay about it and the story of Boots was so good that it pulled me right in. I agree with you about Sheba and like your observations about the colors shifting as the book progresses. Also, that's a great practical tip about covering the Swastika! I'm looking forward to more of your pieces.

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