FICTION

Stubby the War Dog: The True Story of World War I's Bravest Dog

64p. bibliog. chron. index. photos. reprods. National Geographic. May 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781426314865; lib. ed. $26.90. ISBN 9781426314872.
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RedReviewStarGr 4–7—Stubby, a terrier of unknown origin, found his way to the training grounds in New Haven, CT, as recruits were preparing to ship off to battle in Europe at the height of World War I. Dogs have had a special place beside their human companions throughout history, and Stubby is no different. He attached himself to J. Robert Conroy, one of the recruits, and they became an inseparable team for the rest of Stubby's life. Smuggled aboard a naval ship with the young soldiers, the dog lived the life of any soldier: sleeping in trenches, dodging bullets in the heat of battle, and ferreting out enemy combatants when he could. Sargent Stubby's heartwarming and inspiring story touched many lives, from fellow soldiers needing comfort to local villagers who made special clothing for him and many a skeptical officer in between. Bausum manages to weave in the general details of the last few years of World War I, providing some historical context and adding a bit of suspense and drama. Stubby's fame only grew after the war ended and the two friends came home and traveled the country, marching in parades and posing for pictures. While many details are lost to history, newspaper clippings, a scrapbook kept by Conroy, and mentions in interviews provide enough information to piece together a moving, thoughtful dog story. Period photographs of the war front in general and a few of Stubby specifically, sprinkled throughout this relatively short narrative, make this a choice offering for dog lovers and history buffs alike.—Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA
When his "closest comrade," doughboy Robert Conroy, shipped out from Newport News in 1917 for the French front, it was only natural that Stubby would come along. This remarkable true dog story gives Bausum an effective and unusual perspective on WWI, and she carries Stubby's story through his subsequent celebrity, death, and now taxidermic display at the Smithsonian. Archival photos are included. Reading list, timeline, websites. Bib., ind.

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