Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
Genre: Historical fiction
What did you like about the book? With the foundation of a true story and a literal underdog, Strongheart will warm the hearts of many young readers. The German Shepherd was a film star in the 1920s with nation-wide fans eagerly watching his incredible stunts and show of emotions; Fleming and Rohmann work together and bring Strongheart’s backstory to life with a few creative liberties for a comprehensive narrative and a message of love, hope, and family.
This sweet story is a fairly quick read due to the combination of text and beautifully rendered illustrations, making the pages fly by for a satisfying conclusion. The aforementioned illustrations seamlessly elevate the book to another level, giving readers a more immediate connection to both the action and emotions surrounding Strongheart’s thoughts and story.
Many younger readers will delight in this small bit of history with giggles and wide eyes throughout.
Anything you didn’t like about it? While this is certainly intended to be a gentle story, too many conflicts are quickly dismissed with a playful lick from our hero, making the interaction fall a little flat.
To whom would you recommend this book? Kids who enjoy animal stories and heroes will love the sweet story of Strongheart. This is a great suggestion for those who enjoyed the Young Reader’s Editions of Racing in the Rain by Stein or Marley by Grogan. Additionally, readers who are getting ready for longer reads after Dog Diaries or Animal Inn will eagerly flip through the pages while not being overwhelmed, thanks to the expressive illustrations.
Who should buy this book? Children’s library collections (public and school)
Where would you shelve it ? Juvenile fiction
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes. I read this in just an hour and really enjoyed it; if you would like quick read (with a very sweet and loving family), this book is a great pick for a relaxing evening.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Melissa McCleary, Pembroke Public Library, Pembroke, MA
Date of review: February 24, 2018