Sunday, May 1, 2011

Cracker!: The Best Dog in Vietnam

Cracker!: The Best Dog in Vietnam
Author: Cynthia Kadohata
Publisher: New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, c2007.

Plot Description:
            Cracker lives a great life with his master Willie, and Willie’s parents.  But when the family has to move to a smaller home, they find that they can no longer keep Cracker with them.  Instead of sending her to the pound, they decide to send her to help the army in Vietnam as a bomb sniffing dog.  But before she can go she has to learn to obey a new master, an 18 year old recruit named Rick.  As Rick and Cracker learn to work together and trust each other they are sent on their biggest test, to survive Vietnam and the horrific war that is going on there.  What results is a heartwarming and breaking story about the love of a dog and her master, and the power that this love brings.

            Cracker! is an amazing story about something that few realize happen.  Dogs have been a major part of war for major battles for centuries, but they are the unsung heroes even after they have saved the lives of thousands.  The book talks about the sacrifices these dogs willingly made for the masters they loved, and the heartbreak the soldiers suffered for these heroic pets.  Another interesting part of the story was that the book really told how these dogs saved people, and then of the terrible end the army left most of them to.  The book believable switches back and forth from the perspective of Cracker and Rick.  It is a must read for any tween interested in animals or in war stories. 

Genre: Historical Fiction
Reading level: 8th-9th Grade

Similar Books: Skulduggery Pleasant, Alabama Moon

Reader’s Advisory:
Personal thoughts- really powerful book on the bond between humans and dogs
Subjects/themes- War, Dogs, Vietnam War, Growing up
Character names/descriptions-
            Willie- Cracker’s owner who had to give him up
            Rick- ends up becoming Cracker’s handler and owes his life to the dog
            Cracker- a heroic dog
Annotation: Sometimes the person you can count on the most, isn’t a person at all.

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