"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Friday, August 2, 2013


I am not a dog person. I am a cat person. There. I said it. You are aware of my bias.

I wasn't sure how I would relate to this story, but somewhere around page 13, I forgot my own bias. 

Duke by Kirby Larson is a wonderful story. It is a heart-wrenching story. It is a story that will generate conversations. It is a story that will resonate with readers.

Here's an excerpt from the synopsis on Goodreads:

"A poignant World War II story about a boy and his dog and his dad, and the many meanings of bravery, from Newbery Honor author Kirby Larson.

With World War II raging and his father fighting overseas in Europe, eleven-year-old Hobie Hanson is determined to do his part to help his family and his country, even if it means giving up his beloved German shepherd, Duke."

"With powerful storytelling and gripping emotion, critically acclaimed author Kirby Larson explores the many ways bravery and love help us to weather the most difficult times."

I first, second and third this statement.

Kirby Larson has created a story that young readers will love.  She has brought a new perspective on WWII - that of the dogs who served and the families that gave up their pets for this service.

In my summer theme of reading a book in the right place, I took Duke to the Wright Museum, a museum of WWII history.
I have taken my children to The Wright Museum in Wolfeboro, NH. a few times and have learned many interesting things about WWII and life on the home front right along side them.

Kirby Larson has done a fabulous job of capturing various perspectives from World War II.  Readers will have a better understanding of the lives people lead on the home front, as well as life for those serving the country abroad.

I love this dog and his boy. No spoiler alerts here, but I held my breath through Chapter Twenty.

I love the slice of life moments.
Kirby Larson gives readers just enough of a scene to include us, but not so much that we lose sight of the journey.

I love this close knit family.

Readers have no doubt that Hobie will be okay. His father's 

I love the letters written by Hobie's father. 

I love the perspective on WWII. 

Readers are given insight into: the sense of duty people felt; the concept of rations; the importance of household items in the war effort; the difficulty of having a loved one serving in the army; the loss many experiences; and, the prejudices some experienced on the home front.
I love t
he letters written by Private First Class Corff.

I love that Hobie and Duke are surrounded by characters with whom readers will connect.

~Uncle Tryg - who never wastes words

~Catherine - whose unwavering kindness helps others see the right path
~Max - who needs a friend
~June - who understands and who says what Hobie cannot
~Mrs. Lee - who provides stability in an uncertain time

Well Done, Kirby!  I don't expect I will actually see this one on my library shelves very often...


  1. I am so sorry to be so slow to read this review -- but I love it! Thank you. I especially love the prediction that the book won't be on the shelf often -- I hope that one's coming true!

    1. It is! I haven't seen it since it came in!