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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Little Dog Lost, written and illustrated by Monica Carnesi. Penguin, 2012. $18.50 ages 5 and up

"But the river flows too fast. The little dog floats away with the current, past the people and past the buildings. Dog leaves everyone behind."

Where was I when this story was all over the airwaves? I must have been sleeping under a rock, or something. I am very happy that Monica Carnesi has used her considerable talents at both writing and illustrating to share it, in case others missed it as well as me. 

For Little Dog (now named Baltic) it is a terrifying ordeal. Somehow he finds himself on a chunk of ice in the middle of the Vistula River heading who knows where. The frantic children on shore seek help; no one can rescue him, the river is too swift. For two days, the dog is trapped on the ice as the river takes him 75 miles downriver. He is cold, he is hungry and he must be scared. But, he stays the course.

The crew of a passing research ship notice him on the ice and attempt to bring him in. Instead, he slips into the water and they havea  grave concern that he is lost to them. But, the dog is resolute and finds his way back to the ice. With great difficulty and obvious danger, one crew member is launched in a small boat to try and save him. That done, the crew gives the tender, loving care needed to assure his recovery. Baltic remains on the 'Baltica', a crew member loved by all who know him. He is most especially loved by Officer Adam Buczynski, who plucked him from the ice when all seemed lost for the courageous canine.

The drama is captured in a story told simply for young children, but with enough adventure for older readers as well. The illustrations evoke the cold of winter, with grey clouds, freezing waters, windswept outdoor scenes. When the action moves inside, the warmth and contentment is evident.

It's a great book for a winter day, and to share with children who love an adventure with a happy ending. The fact that is tells a true story only adds icing to the cake!

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