Friday, April 27, 2007

Cracker by Cynthia Kadohata

Books about war have been popular this year in our library. Cracker is both a dog story and a Vietnam War story, and readers who like either kind of book will like this one. A boy is forced to give up his beloved dog, Cracker, because it's not allowed in his family's apartment. The best place they find to send Cracker is to the U.S. Army, where she will be trained to sniff out explosives, hiding enemy soldiers, and other dangerous things, and be sent to Vietnam. Rick is the young soldier who becomes Cracker's "handler." Together they face some frightening and life-changing things in Vietnam, and their experiences with finding booby traps, tunnels, and other deadly traps make for interesting reading. We get inside Cracker's head and find out what she is thinking sometimes, which sounds corny, but really isn't. Rick is a believable young man who survives the horrors of Vietnam thanks to Cracker, who is a really great dog. The problem is that back then, when the U.S. Army was done with a dog, they usually had it put to sleep. Recommended especially for 6th and 7th graders.

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