Monday, January 4, 2010

Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine, & a Miracle

As you can tell by the amount of nonfiction books I review, it is one of my favorite genres. This week, I am joining the ranks of other children's literature bloggers in participating in Nonfiction Monday. Each week is hosted by a different blog. You can check out all of today's reviews at Picture Book of the Day, today's host and the inspiration for Nonfiction Monday.

My contribution for the day is
Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine & a Miracle by Brian Dennis with Kirby Larson and Mary Nethery. Published in 2009 by Little Brown and Company.

Despite Major Brian Dennis' many duties, his many prolonged absences from his base in Iraq, and the US Marine's prohibition on the keeping of animals, Nubs - a small, thin, nearly earless dog, chose Major Dennis as his own, and nothing - not even a 70-mile journey across a snowy desert would keep him from his friend.

Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine & a Miracle is a third person account of the friendship between this Iraqi dog and a US Marine. The story is told chronologically, in simple text,

"The other pack dogs raced to greet the men. But the dog without ears cautiously approached Brian, who knelt down on one knee to meet him,"

using large font with occasional inset text boxes using quotes from Major Dennis' emails,

"From: Brian Dennis
Subject: Nubs
Date: November 2007
On our last trip north I was expecting to see Nubs again. I didn't. We didn't make it as for north as we did last trip, but I still thought I'd see him. I hope that crazy little dog is okay."

The text is primarily in white font on brightly colored pages or superimposed on photographs. Numerous photographs and several maps accompany the story. A note from Brian Dennis, now at home with Nubs in San Diego, completes the book.

Although its target audience is beginning readers, the language in Nubs still manages to be inspiring. Readers will root for the poor injured dog and rejoice at his eventual liberation from his harsh desert life. Nubs' story is one of friendship and loyalty. Nubs loyally follows Brian wherever he may lead, and Brian repays that loyalty with the help of his human friends and family. There are few bright spots in the Iraq War. This story is one of them.

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