Awards, Honors, Prizes:
State and Provincial Reading Lists:
Reading Measurement Programs:
Standards of Learning Information
John Peters (Booklist, Sep. 15, 2002 (Vol. 99, No. 2))
Can you name the most heroic sled dog in history? It's not Balto, as Blake points out; the team that Balto led covered only the final, 53-mile leg of the rescue mission that carried diphtheria serum to beleaguered Nome in 1925. Honors might more justly go to Balto's kennel-mate, Togo, lead dog of a team that carried the life-saving cargo 350 miles, through deadly weather and over dangerously weak ice. Blake takes a few liberties with the accompanying text, using some invented dialogue and lines such as, "But Togo didn't want to be a pet." But he paints a vivid word-picture of bitter, deadly conditions and the grueling effort required to surmount them, reinforcing it with dramatic art that brings out the textures of snow and fur, and the spirit of the small, indomitable dog as it forges across rugged, frozen landscapes. Blake concludes with a brief account of his on-site research for information; his compelling tribute is sandwiched between endpaper maps tracing the mission's entire route. Category: Books for Middle Readers--Fiction. 2002, Putnam/Philomel, $16.99. Gr. 2-4.
Laura Hummel (Children's Literature)
The hero is not always the dog who crosses the finish line first, but, as in this case, the dog that made the last lap even possible." These words taken from the epilogue honor an amazing canine. Togo was too small and independent to be a good sled dog, but he is destined to become one of the greatest mushers in history. Seppala, Togo's owner, was known as the fastest man in North America, because his team, led by Togo, always won races. When Seppala was asked to help bring life-saving diphtheria serum to Nome, Alaska in 1925, skills were put to the ultimate test. It became a life and death race in which Togo led his team over 350 miles of icy terrain. Attacked by weather, dogs collapsed, lines became tangled, and one dog's eyes froze shut. Although Togo's look told Seppala, "your team has given all they have," they painstakingly reached the relay point. Another dog team, led by Balto, ran the last 53 miles to receive honor and fame, yet Togo was never able to race again. Evocative oil paintings tell the riveting true story, which inspired the now famous Iditarod. Snow-textured pages chillingly convey the action and heroics of an incredible dog with so much heart. Meticulously researched and beautifully illustrated, the tale is sure to transport readers back into history. 2002, Philomel Books, $16.99. Ages 6 to 12.
CCBC (Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices, 2003)
The stunning and dramatic cover of Togo features the life-size face of a Siberian Husky, its eyes peering intently out from a snow-covered face. Open the book and the drama never ceases as Robert J. Blake recounts the story the unsung hero who helped save the population of Nome, Alaska, during the diphtheria outbreak of 1925. It was the middle of winter, and only sled dogs could traverse the final 300 miles of terrain between Anchorage and Nome. Their cargo was life-saving serum. Togo's handler, Leonhard Seppala, already had discovered Togo was an extraordinary sled dog who had led Seppala to many racing victories. On the serum run, Togo led Seppala and his team across the icy Alaskan terrain in the midst of a winter storm, in temperatures that were as cold as 40 below zero. They not only ran their leg of the journey, but continued on when other teams could not. When they finally were able to pass the serum on to the final handler and team, Togo was spent -- he never raced again. That final team was led by Balto, a sled dog hailed as a hero for bringing the serum into Nome. Balto and his team had run 53 miles. But Togo had led Seppala on an extraordinary 350-mile journey. CCBC categories: Historical People, Places, And Events; Picture Books For Older Children; The Natural World. 2002, Philomel, 40 pages, $16.99. Ages 6-10.
Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2002 (Vol. 70, No. 16))
The cover of this long picture book is a showstopper, with the entire spread showing just the face of a snowy dog with intense, pale-blue eyes, along with the single title word and the author's name. Who could resist opening it to find out who Togo is? In a dramatic story based on a real event, Blake (Fledgling, 2000, etc.) recounts the historic rescue mission undertaken in 1925 Alaska by Leonhard Seppala and his lead sled dog, Togo. Seppala, owner of the fastest sled-dog team in Alaska, lived in Nome during an outbreak of diphtheria, and he was asked to travel by dogsled to a town 300 miles away to pick up serum to fight the diphtheria outbreak. Togo, a brilliant, perceptive dog, successfully led Seppala's team during this mission, which was accomplished in just a few days. The dog that finished the journey, Balto, is the dog most children know, but Togo made that finish possible and the entire run inspired today's Iditarod. Blake begins with the heartwarming story of Togo's younger days, when he proved himself a worthy lead dog, followed by the dramatic, harrowing tale of the desperate rush for the serum. ("Diphtheria" and "serum" aren't defined in the text, but their meanings should be clear.) Blake's arresting oil paintings add greatly to the well-told tale, capturing the personality of the special dog. Some paintings show panoramic snow-covered vistas, others show the dogs in action, with thick white strokes of paint often representing the falling snow. A map on the endpapers enables the reader to follow the progress of the rescue mission, which they will-breathlessly. (author's note) 2002, Philomel, $16.99. Category: Picture book. Ages 6 to 9. © 2002 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
|Language||Call Number||LCCN||Dewey Decimal||ISBN/ISSN|
|English (eng)||SF440.15 .B53 2002
0399233814 (lib. bdg.)|