Remembering Vera

illus. by Patricia Polacco. 32p. S. & S. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481442275.
K-Gr 3—Decades ago, a serviceman from the U.S. Coast Guard adopted an abandoned puppy and named her Vera. The men in the unit were charmed by the playful mutt but feared their commander, the Ol' Man, would give her away if she were discovered, so they kept her hidden. One day, a distress call came in from a sailboat caught in a horrific storm, and the company (including the Ol' Man) raced out to aid the trapped passengers. The harsh winds and unforgiving rip currents prevented any rescue attempts, and it was at that moment that Vera appeared on deck. The men convinced the Ol' Man that she could swim out and bring a lifeline to the terrified passengers, and in desperation he agreed. It was a tremendous and daring effort that resulted not only in saved lives but also in a lifelong friendship between the commander and Vera. Polacco expertly depicts the enduring love between man and canine through her engaging text and energetic and joyous illustrations. The book chronicles even more courageous rescues by Vera, and the ending will pull at heartstrings. Never maudlin, this inspiring offering is sure to captivate. Polacco's own role in the story is intriguing, and the author's note will spark lively conversation.
VERDICT It's hard to resist a tale about a heroic dog, and there is no use in even trying with this latest title by the esteemed author/illustrator. Pair with Dorothy Hinshaw Patent's Dogs on Duty: Soldiers' Best Friends on the Battlefield and Beyond for a wider look at dogs in the military.

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