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Dogboy by Christopher Russell
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Intermediate
  plmartin | Jul 23, 2009 |
School Library Journal 8/1/2006

Gr 5-7-Sir Edmund Dowe, a middle-aged knight who's fallen on hard times, has decided to join his countrymen in the first stage of the Hundred Years War between England and France and takes his ragtag servants with him: Tullo, a cruel but effective huntsman; Philip, Dowe's weedy nephew and page; and 12-year-old Brind, the dogboy. As a baby, Brind was found among a litter of mastiff puppies, and as a boy, he is invaluable to Sir Edmund as someone who can communicate with the large, fierce dogs. During the battle of Crecy, Glaive, the leader of the mastiff pack, escapes from his French attackers into the woods. Brind tracks the wounded dog (who is also his best friend) and stumbles across a 10-year-old French refugee named Aur‚lie. Despite a rough start, the two become companions during their journey to survive the perils that follow them, including an English lord bent on owning Brind for his own dogboy and the vengeful Tullo. The action is fast-paced with narrow escapes at every turn and elements of dry humor at the most unlikely times. While the coincidences of all the characters repeatedly meeting up might stretch credulity at times, the elements of the deus ex machina are important to keeping up the speed of the story. Readers who are in transition from the 'reluctant' to the 'eager' phases will find enough adventure here to hold their attention.-Farida S. Dowler, Mercer Island Library, WA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Booklist 4/16/2006

Gr. 4-6. Abandoned as a baby and raised by dogs, 12-year-old Brind has a rapport with Sir Edward's prize mastiffs that makes him invaluable. When the knight brings both dogs and boy on a military campaign, the bloody great hunt leaves Brind separated from his master and desperately searching for the decimated pack's wounded leader. Much of the novel's suspense comes from Brind's pursuit by adults who either resent or wish to exploit his dog-tending abilities, and it's difficult to accept that a mere kennel boy would loom so large in minds preoccupied by war. Such weak spots are common in debut novels; less typical are the many things first-timer Russell does well. Few authors for this audience incorporate multiple perspectives (including those of a homeless French girl and Sir Edward himself) as gracefully, and readers will be riveted by the concise, plainspoken writing about the brutality and absurdity of battle: Without war, what would men of rank do, other than grow fat? Offer this to readers who favor medieval adventures akin to Nancy Springer's Tales of Rowan Hood series. --Jennifer Mattson Copyright 2006 Booklist

Personal Review

Somewhat unbelieveable but still an exciting tale of good vs. evil. It also conveys the strong ties between a boy and the dog he loves and how loyalty and determination can allow one to accomplish great things. The historical side of it is also very interesting and tells the child's view of the Middle Ages concept of chivalry, honor, and allegiance to one's king. ( )
  pvhslibrarian | Jul 19, 2009 |
Russell, C., (2006). Dogboy. New York: Greenwillow Books.

Grades 4-7

Reviews/Awards Source Date
School Library Journal 8/1/2006
Voice of Youth Advocate 8/1/2006
Booklist 4/15/2006 ( )
  TSwain | Jul 16, 2009 |
I enjoyed this book and would read it with students. ( )
  msblanken | Jul 4, 2009 |
This book did not hold my interest as much as I would have liked. I believe because the protagonist was raised by dogs and did not communicate well verbally, I had a hard time getting into his head. Still the story was interesting, and anyone interested in the time period and the Hundred Years War between England and France would probably like it. I would gage the age range for this book as late elementary through middle school. ( )
  ohioyalibrarian | Jan 22, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060841168, Hardcover)

Brind

Discovered as a baby in Sir Edmund's kennels, Brind has grown up with the mastiffs. He plays with them, eats with them, and sleeps in their den. Brind understands dogs better than he understands any human.

Glaive

The largest and most powerful dog in the pack, Glaive is Brind's best friend. He would do anything for the dog boy, even race straight into battle.

Aurélie

Thrown out of her home as the French army prepares for the English invasion, Aurélie can either beg outside the town wall with her mother, or fight the enemy herself. She has never been one to sit still.

When the English and French armies clash at the Battle of Crécy, there will be honor, treachery, loss, chivalry—and glory. For Brind, Glaive, and Aurélie, this is only the beginning.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:57:45 -0400)

In 1346, twelve-year-old Brind, an orphaned kennel boy raised with hunting dogs at an English manor, accompanies his master, along with half of the manor's prized mastiffs, to France, where he must fend for himself when both his master and the dogs are lost at the decisive battle of Crécy.… (more)

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