Sunday, July 15, 2018

Leo: Dog of the Sea, 1519-1521 by Alison Hart - ADVISABLE

Leo: Dog of the Sea, 1519-1521 by Alison Hart, 165 pages. Peachtree, 2017. $13. 

Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG.



About to begin his fourth sea voyage, Leo is scrappy, wary of humans, a fine ratter, and partial toward a scrawny stowaway he finds hiding in his nest. Thus begins a year-and-a-half voyage under the command of Captain Magellan from the perspective of a canine. Magellan is determined to find a new route to the Spice Islands, and must push through several hardships on the way, including storms, depleted supplies, mutinous sailors, fearsome superstitions, sickness, uncertain routes, lost ships and men, hostile natives and battles, ultimately losing his life. Leo shares the horror and wonder of it all, including finding friendship along the way.

This historic journey is brought to life through Leo’s narration. It moves along quickly, providing vivid details without getting bogged down. The last 20 pages contain non-fiction information about various aspects of Magellan’s historic journey and the facts behind the fiction, as well as a glossary, ship diagram, bibliography, and further reading suggestions. This is a very solid historical fiction read, and would be a great addition for most collections. There are three other Dog Chronicles titles which cover the historical periods of coal mining during the first part of the twentieth century, the Alaskan Gold Rush during the same time period, and World War I.

P. K. Foster, teacher-librarian

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