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Dog Diaries #3: Barry by Kate Klimo

Dog Diaries #3: Barry

by Kate Klimo

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Barry was a well-known rescue dog and the inspiration for today's Saint Bernard breed. Believed to have rescued over 40 people, his life is a legend among dogs (heh heh).

This book weaves the legends and sparse facts about Barry into an engaging narrative from the dog's point of view. Barry starts out by explaining where his breed came from and why they were in the Alps. His own story begins with his puppyhood in the basement of the Great Saint Bernard Hospice in 1800. He tells the reader about how he was raised and the Hospice, including encounters with Napoleon and various travelers. After many years of rescue work, Barry is injured by a confused traveler and loses his beloved friend. After that, he is taken to live with a kindly friend and eventually his body was stuffed and put on display in a museum.

The appendix explains more about the history of Saint Bernards and the changes in the breed. There are several online sources for more information on Barry's history and the breed and some general information about owning a Saint Bernard.

This is the third book in the Dog Diaries series. I haven't seen the first two, but from their description it appears that each book is about a different breed, not necessarily a specific, historical dog. The first book, Ginger, is about a fictional golden retriever named Ginger and puppy mills, the second book is about Buddy, the first seeing eye dog.

Verdict: The blend of fiction and nonfiction is exactly what a lot of kids love. Join that with dogs, cute black and white pictures, historical drama, and a nice easy length and readability and this series will be a sure winner with your younger middle grade readers and beginning chapter readers ready to transition to a harder series. Recommended.

ISBN: 9780449812808; Published 2013 by Random House; Review copy provided by the publisher; First two books in the series added to the library's tentative order list
  JeanLittleLibrary | Nov 24, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0449812804, Paperback)

Barry der Menschenretter—a.k.a. Barry—the most famous St. Bernard dog in history, tells the story of his life for the first time. Eight-thousand feet above sea level, in the treacherous pass in the Alps between Italy and Switzerland, the monks of the hospice of St. Bernard have, since the 11th century, kept dogs to help them rescue travelers lost in the snow. In time, these dogs became a breed unto themselves, named for the hospice. They are responsible for helping over 2,000 travelers who might otherwise have frozen to death. With great modesty, Barry tells not just about his own heroic exploits (saving over 40 lives, including that of a 12-year-old boy frozen in a cave), but about his daily life in the hospice, his close relationship with the brothers who train him, and about the other hospice hounds with whom he teams up to guide lost travelers and save lives. With realistic black-and-white illustrations by Tim Jessell—plus an appendix with information about St. Bernards, the Great St. Bernard Hospice, and much, more—Barry's tale is perfect for dog-crazy middle-grade readers! 

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:37 -0400)

Barry der Menschenretter, a Saint Bernard dog, reflects back on his life in the early 1800s at the Hospice of the Great Saint Bernard in the Swiss Alps, where he rescued some forty people from avalanches. Includes facts about the breed and the hospice.… (more)

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