Is it heroism if a dog risks its life to save humans? Or is the animal simply doing what it must, according to its instinct and training? Perhaps it all amounts to the same thing, that mingling of valor, determination and resourcefulness that gives us the word “doggedness.” In “The Tale of Rescue” (Candlewick, 103 pages, $14.99), a gripping and sometimes startlingly beautiful read for children age 10 and older, Michael Rosen unfurls the story of how four individuals find themselves brought together on one freezing, desperate night. Unusually, Mr. Rosen doesn’t give us names for the characters in the story—not for the vacationing mother, father and boy who are overwhelmed by an Ohio blizzard while on foot and not, until the very end, for the cattle dog that hears something strange in the shrieking wind and leaves her farm duties to investigate.
         In Stan Fellows’s atmospheric watercolors, we glimpse happy times before the storm: the people building a little family of snowmen the same size as themselves and cross-country skiing, “their overlapping parallel tracks [leaving] an empty musical staff on the blank pages of the smooth fields . . . and their boot prints [adding] the notes.” But it is the dog in this adventure that captures our hearts, the working animal that fights her way through miles of deep, ice-topped snow to round up “three lost members of someone’s herd.” When the humans begin to fail in the deep drifts, the heroic dog—and, really, is it not heroism?—hits upon a remarkable stratagem to make straight their way to safety in this snug and handsome volume.
—Meghan Cox Gurdon, from a feature in the
Wall Street Journal 
Rosen portrays the dog's attempts to save the family so astutely that readers will feel the dog's determination and exhaustion, and his somber, parsed descriptions of the blizzard and the family's subsequent disorientation in the whiteout bring their cold and fear close. The writing is matched by Fellows' superb watercolor illustrations—expertly rendered scenes that are, thankfully, liberally sprinkled throughout...A fine, superbly illustrated tale of adventure, bravery, and loyalty.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

The urgent pace of the cattle dog's rescue coupled with striking poetic language during quieter moments: "their overlapping parallel tracks left an empty musical staff on the blank pages of the smooth fields. Later, they returned on foot and their boot prints added the notes." Fellows's watercolor illustrations add an ephemeral quality to the fleeting story, helping create the distant but satisfying tone of this lovely prose-poem adventure.
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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