Monday, March 01, 2010
Cracker! The Best Dog In Vietnam (YA)
Cracker! The Best Dog In Vietnam by Cynthia Kadohata. 2007. Simon & Schuster. 320 pages.
Grrrr! For I am the all-powerful Cracker!
Unable to give her a home after his family moves, Willie (and his parents) decide to give their dog, Cracker, a German shepherd, to the U.S. Army. The army is looking for good dogs to be trained and sent to Vietnam. Willie, who has taught his dog ninety words including the ever-important word wienie, is sure that Cracker is going to be the best of the best. Not that it makes it any easier on him. As his continued letters to the Cracker's handler show. This is one boy who misses his dog. There's no getting over such a dog.
Rick Hanski has joined the army and he's going to be a dog handler. He's assigned Cracker to train. Together they must learn new skills and learn to trust one another completely before heading to war, to the jungle. Not only will Rick depend on Cracker to alert him of danger, many soldiers' lives are on the line; entire platoons are counting on Cracker and other well-trained dogs to alert them of danger, of the enemy, of traps, of bombs, etc.
This one is narrated by both dog and man. And it can get ugly. A book about war almost has to get ugly. One thing is for sure, after facing the war together, these two will never be the same again.
I thought this book told a unique story, a compelling story.
Note: I read this one for the Vietnam challenge and the Take Another Chance Challenge. For the "Genre-Switch-Up" category. Because I so don't do dog books. Books with dogs on the cover are ones I usually avoid. Unless I've got trusted, trusted friends promising that no dogs are abused or killed within the pages. And it's also a war book. From a soldier's point of view.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews