Darling: Mercy Dog of World War I by Alison Hart

Darling is enjoying a comfortable life as a family’s dog in the farming community of Cosham, England during World War I. He loves his family, especially the children, Katherine and Robert. He has a friend in a stray dog named Rags. Best of all, there are sheep all over Cosham that Darling chases with glee, allowing his herding nature a frequent workout and irritating the neighborhood farmers. When Katherine and Robert’s father is called away to war, another family sacrifice is quick to follow. Because of a steep dog tax, the family can no longer afford to keep Darling. They enlist her into the military in hopes that their beloved pet can help with the war effort. At first, Darling’s happy-go-lucky attitude does not make her a very good soldier, however, when the sergeant who cares for her is injured in a training exercise, Darling rushes to his side and barks until someone helps him. This focus and caring make Darling a perfect fit for the role of Mercy Dog. Darling is trained to find wounded soldiers during battle and stay with them until a medic can help.

This book is action-packed, focusing on Darling’s training as much as her combat experience. There are interesting facts about World War I, military dogs and life in England during the war. This is the first book in a series called Dog Chronicles. This book and the forthcoming sequels are a wonderful way to introduce historical events to young dog lovers in 2nd grade and up. The details are rich, but not gruesome and the conclusion is satisfying so that young readers never are overly stressed emotionally while reading about this lovable dog and the people she cares for.

Posted by: Kelly

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