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Darling, Mercy Dog of World War I Blog Tour and Giveaway

Darling, Mercy Dog of World War I *1917*

Fast-paced, fascinating historical fiction for readers who love dogs.
Fast-paced, fascinating historical fiction for readers who love dogs.

Welcome to the last stop of Peachtree Publishers’ Blog Tour!

Please read on for more info about the book and giveaway. Thank you Peachtree for this wonderful opportunity to spread the word about Dog Chronicles!

The new Dog Chronicles series introduces young readers to the important yet often overlooked roles our canine companions played in major historical events. In Darling, Mercy Dog of World War I (Peachtree Publishers, $12.95, ages 7-10), written by Alison Hart and illustrated by Michael G. Montgomery, we meet man’s best friend at her finest in this 176 page book set in England and Belgium during the Great War.


What an eye-opener this fast-paced and moving historical fiction novel was for me! I had no idea that mercy dogs existed, yet after reading Darling, Mercy Dog of WWI, I learned and appreciated what a vital military role they played in finding and assisting wounded soldiers on the battlefields of Europe. Hart’s tightly constructed story begins with Darling’s recruitment by the military from the family who loved her, especially the two children, Robert and Katherine. The book then details Darling’s training period and finally focuses on her service as a mercy dog, braving life and death situations. Montgomery’s sketch-like illustrations  done with various lines in assorted directions complement the story in their depictions of village life, battlefields and various characters.

Hart manages to convincingly share the tale in Darling’s voice so readers experience first-hand the stresses she feels and the successes she accomplishes as a soldier. In addition to all the satisfying action and adventure they’ll find in the book, kids will be drawn into the story because of several meaningful relationships detailed. First there is Darling’s relationship as beloved pet of Katherine and Robert. Second is her role as Mercy dog under the caring and watchful guidance of handler, Private Kent. There’s also a sweet friendship between Darling and a stray dog named Rags from Darling’s home town of Cosham in England. Before the war, Rags and Darling would roam the town together when, on occasion, Darling slipped free from her leash.

When at last Darling is faced with the prospect of being on an actual mission, she is scared but well prepared. “Hoping to pick up a trail, I kept my nose to the ground. The smells of burnt earth, gunpowder, and a hundred boot soles grew confusing.” Using all her keen senses, Darling the mercy dog locates a fallen soldier. With the story focusing more on the dog squad and Darling’s role saving soldiers, young readers will find this perspective less harsh than had it been a full-on WWI tale. There are some harrowing moments like when the Allied trench of Darling’s regiment is blasted by a barrage of enemy shells. Darling must race to find and dig out her colleagues despite a painful wound she’s sustained. Of course the questions remain whether she’ll get to them in time, whether she’ll recover from her wound and then, will she ever make it back from the Continent to Cosham and her dear Katherine and Robert?

Next up in this series: Murphy, Gold Rush Dog *1896*


The GOOD READS WITH RONNA giveaway opp begins today, Friday, October 4, 2013 and runs through Sunday, October 20th ’til midnight. Enter now by sending your name and address to Good Reads With Ronna by clicking here. Be sure to write DARLING/Peachtree Giveaway in the subject line. One winner of (1) one copy of Darling: Mercy Dog of World War I -1917- will be selected via and notified on Monday, October 21st. Click here to see our contest and giveaways rule page.  Good luck!

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Beware The Ides of March

A Storyteller’s Version of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar,
and The Story of Rome
, as told by Jim Weiss on CD
$13.45,, ages 7 to adult
1124-44Beware the Ides of March. From Jim Weiss, winner of countless awards for his unparalleled storytelling, come some excellent additions to the Greathall collection. Weiss has a way of drawing listeners into a story and keeping them thoroughly entertained, and my husband and I are delighted when listening pulls our kids away from less educational electronic distractions. I can’t think of a better introduction to this timeless tragedy by Shakespeare than hearing it brought to life by Weiss with a variety of voice characterizations that keep the story moving. Weiss weaves excerpts from Julius Caesar in such a seamless fashion that kids will think they’ve read the entire classic. The Story of Rome includes background information to help set the scene for Julius Ceasar which follows, and is full of interesting anecdotes and facts I never learned in school. The CD ends with an epilogue called “What Happened Afterward.” There’s no better way to pass a long car journey with children than with Jim Weiss as your companion.

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dsc_0024Guest Reviewer Debbie Glade is the author, illustrator and voice talent of the award-winning children’s picture book The Travel Adventures of Lilly P Badilly: Costa Rica, published by Smart Poodle Publishing. She visits South Florida schools with her reading, writing and geography programs. For years, Debbie was a travel writer for luxury cruise lines. She writes parenting articles for various websites and is the Geography Awareness Editor for She blogs daily at Today she enlightens us about The Enemy: A Book About Peace by Davide Cali.

If I had met author Davide Cali on a plane flying to Italy (that’s where he lives) and he said to me, “I am writing a children’s picture book about war, enemies and killing,” I would have wished him luck and feigned sleep for the remainder of the trip.

the-enemy_low-resI would have thought, “That’s obviously not a good subject for a children’s picture book, is it? No one would want to read that to their kids!” To say the least, I would have been wrong. Dead wrong. The Enemy: A Book About Peace is so brilliantly done and offers such a powerful message about conflict and misunderstanding, that everyone – young and old – should read it. And yes, the point of this tale is all about peace.

The simple, adorable illustrations by Serge Bloch perfectly complement this sophisticated, yet simple story. The story is told in first person, in a most captivating manner, by one of two enemy soldiers. Each soldier sits in his foxhole waiting for a chance to shoot at the other soldier. The enemies never actually see each other, but know the other is there waiting to kill. They grow lonely, weary and hungry from waiting. The storytelling soldier even wonders if his enemy is looking up at the same stars every night. He wonders if that enemy thinks war is pointless too. And he really hates when it rains and soaks him as he waits for the enemy to attack. He wonders when this war will end. Out of desperation one day, he crawls out of his foxhole covered with leaves to disguise himself. This way, he can go over to the enemy’s hole and surprise him and shoot first.

enemy24What that soldier finds in the enemy’s foxhole changes his opinion about everything he had been told about war and the “enemy.” What happens after that, I cannot tell you. You’ll have to read this book yourself to see.

What I can tell you is that the message in this clever book is very poignant. The Enemy: A Book About Peace will really make you think deeply about everything from actual wars between countries, to enemy22conflicts between family members. In fact, if there is someone in your life you struggle to get along with, this book would be a perfect gift. While recommended for children ages 4 to 8, kids older than 6 will be better able to understand the concept of the story.

Buy it. And read it often. You don’t have to have a child or be a child to benefit from reading this book. It will be a worthwhile use of your time.


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