By Michael Morpurgo
U.S.: Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan
Great Britain: HarperCollins Children’s Books, 2010
Genre: Historical Fiction
A silver star badge. A little red train. A cave in Afghanistan. A “sniffer dog” named Shadow. An incredible story of escape, adversity, courage, and love. The kind that never gives in and never gives up.
It’s perfect for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, which is a “Freebie.”
“We want you back.”
Kimber here, ready to introduce you to my new BFF: Shadow the springer spaniel. Aka: “Polly.” She’s a special bomb-sniffing dog. (Okay, she’s not quite as special as I am. But let’s not get picky here, okay?)
Wait. Where was I? Oh yeah. Shadow. She gets lost in Afghanistan during the war and is finally reunited with her old unit from the U.K. But not before finding her way into the heart of young Aman.
The story opens by going back six years to when Aman and his mother are living in a cave in Afghanistan. They’re hiding from the Taliban. Shadow finds Aman. The dog is hurt and hungry. Aman feeds Shadow and takes care of her injured leg. The two become friends.
After a visit from The Bad Guys, it’s pretty clear that Aman and his mom must flee the country, even if they risk their lives to do so. But what about Shadow?
Turns out Shadow has a mind of her own. Kinda like… oh, never mind.
Anyway, Aman and his mom suddenly find themselves following the lead of this remarkable, fearless dog as she leads them to safety. It’s almost as if Shadow knows the way. Has been there before. But after the police shoot at Shadow at a border checkpoint, she runs off.
Later, we find out that “Shadow” is a bomb sniffing dog, “Polly.” She’s eventually re-united with her unit. But that means Aman must give her up to Sergeant Brodie. He does.
Then the story follows Aman and his mom’s harrowing journey into England, where they join Uncle Mir. Aman thinks they’re finally safe. But not so fast…
Michael Morpurgo catapulted into the upper echelons of our Favorite Authors list with War Horse (Hi, Joey). If you haven’t read that, you really should. Ditto An Eagle in the Snow and A Medal for Leroy. All vintage Morpurgo. Just like Shadow.
We read Shadow cover to cover in one sitting. Beautifully written and eminently engaging, it’s also quick. At less than 200 pages, it’s not like you’re biting off War and Peace. (Tip on that Tolstoy thing: Just watch the movie instead. It’s not exactly short or quick. But it’ll only take you a week instead of half a year, like reading the book.)
A Warm Breath of Spring
One other thing. It was cold and wet outside when we started this book. It’s still cold and wet outside. But this book is like a warm breath of spring inside. Heartwarming. Effervescent. In fact, it’s so moving and engrossing, it’s like you just want to sit and savor it awhile. So that’s what we’re gonna do, okay? While one of us gets another doggie treat.
Our Rating: 4.5
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish,
Now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl
April 5, 2022 at 7:11 am
This sounds like a great read for sure!
My post: https://lydiaschoch.com/top-ten-tuesday-reasons-to-take-a-reading-break/
April 5, 2022 at 7:43 am
If you enjoy historical fiction, it’s quite the ride! 😊
April 5, 2022 at 8:53 am
I listened to the audiobook of this with my kids on car journeys last year. I sobbed all the way to school one morning! Michael Morpurgo is brilliant at showing the bond between humans and animals. You may also like Hannah Gold: https://wordywitterings.com/2022/03/27/book-review-of-the-lost-whale-by-hannah-gold/
My TTT is here: https://wordywitterings.com/2022/04/05/ttt-21st-century-books-i-think-will-become-classics/
April 5, 2022 at 8:56 am
I hear ya Claire! What a story. Thanks for the tip on Hannah Gold!👍
April 5, 2022 at 9:48 am
This looks like such a fantastic read! And I love the doggy model.
Ash @ Essentially Ash
April 5, 2022 at 10:14 am
It’s a quick read with lots of plot twists. Kimber the doggie model is a keeper! 👍😊🐾
April 5, 2022 at 12:58 pm
Wow, that sounds like quite the adventure! Thanks for the review, and thanks for stopping by my TTT earlier!
April 5, 2022 at 1:15 pm
You’re welcome Nicole! Thanks for stopping by and for commenting!
April 5, 2022 at 3:38 pm
Aw, this does sound like a good read! I’ve read Morpurgo’s WAR HORSE, but that’s it.
April 5, 2022 at 5:00 pm
Loved War Horse. Shadow is a good story too, with a more modern setting.
April 5, 2022 at 4:45 pm
What a great-sounding story! And Shadow sounds like an amazing dog. 🙂 Thanks for commenting on my blog earlier.
April 5, 2022 at 5:00 pm
Yes and yes! Thanks for commenting!
April 6, 2022 at 1:23 am
I love a book about dpgs. especially working dogs.
April 5, 2022 at 8:51 pm
This was a good one! Thanks for commenting!
April 6, 2022 at 4:49 am
Interesting take on the Freebie. And totally appropriate for the season. Well done, Kristine.
Thanks for visiting my TTT which talks about the weather this week.
April 6, 2022 at 7:11 am
Glad you enjoyed it Marianne. Thanks for commenting!
April 6, 2022 at 8:00 am
But of course. It’s always a delight to talk about books we love or even if we don’t know them, yet, it’s nice to hear about them..
April 6, 2022 at 8:28 am