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


Lenore Appelhans said...

I actually have promotional "dog tags" from this one!

Serena said...

sounds like one that I should consider for the challenge. We should get this posted soon.

Jenners said...

A dog book and a war book! What a combo. It is interesting that it is narrated by both the dog and the handler.

Anna said...

I don't do dog books anymore after bawling my eyes out over Marley & Me. This sounds like one I'd be interested in, though. We posted about your review here on War Through the Generations.

Diary of an Eccentric

Chelsey said...

It was such an amazing book... I have been doing research on the Vietnam Conflict/War and this book was right with the facts... I would recomend this to anyone, and everyone! Great job Cynthia Kadohata!

Shelley said...

I just recently read this one, and I wasn't sure if I would appreciate the point of view of the dog, but I loved it!