Murphy: Gold Rush Dog

illus. by Michael G. Montgomery. 160p. (Dog Chronicles: Bk. 2). Peachtree. Oct. 2014. Tr $12.95. ISBN 9781561457694. LC 2013049354.
Gr 3–6—Murphy, a sled dog, narrates this light adventure story. As the book opens, he's being run ragged at the hands of his cruel master. Stumbling into their new camp in the gold-rush town of Nome, Alaska, Murphy decides that he can't abide Carlick's brutality for one more day. He escapes, but life as a stray isn't much better—until he meets Sally. She and her mother are also new in town, and girl and dog forge an immediate bond. The scrappy duo meet with all kind of adventures, from a close call with a pack of wolves to getting up close and personal with corrupt Carlick. Will their bond and their wits be enough to sustain them in this rough-and-tumble town? Hart once again blends first-person canine narrative with period details and events. Though turn-of-the-century gold mining could be a cutthroat enterprise, the tension and violence are never ratcheted up too high. Montgomery's smudgy pencil drawings have a soft look, reinforcing the feeling that the story will reach a peaceful conclusion. Back matter gives further information and resources for learning more about the Alaskan gold rush. Give this one to sensitive readers who love dog stories but aren't ready for the heartache of books like Fred Gibson's Old Yeller (HaraperCollins, 1995) and Wilson Rawls's Where the Red Fern Grows (Yearling, 1996).—Amy Holland, Irondequoit Public Library, NY
After escaping a cruel owner, Alaskan sled dog Murphy finds a home with eleven-year-old Sally and her mother. Though he's emotionally scarred from past abuse, Murphy proves his bravery when he accompanies Sally on her lone search for gold. This charming dog's-eye-view adventure set in 1900 will please dog lovers and historical fiction fans alike. Appended historical background supplements the narrative. Reading list. Bib.

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