Lexile Score: 730
Genre: Historical Fiction
Maturity level: Middle School
Pages: 308 Chapters: 31 Average Chapter Length: 10 pages
Theme: relationships, war, tenacity
Project ideas: collect dog stories, other examples of working dogs
First Line: Grrrr! For I am the all-powerful Cracker!
Main Character: Rick Hanski, Cracker
Review in 25 words or less: Wonderful book, many opportunities for rich discussion, a Call of the Wild for a new generation?
This story, set during the Vietnam war, is partially told from the viewpoint of the German shepherd bomb-sniffing dog of the title, as well as the two young men that love her – briefly, the boy who had to give her up, and mainly, the soldier assigned as her handler. I found this piece of history intriguing, and it gave me a new understanding of many new impacts of war. The story itself is lovingly and carefully written, and while there is some violence, I believe a book club could discuss the author’s purpose in including some of the darker aspects in the novel.