Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Leo Dog of the Sea by Alison Hart & illustrated by Michael G. Montgomery [Review & Giveaway]

Hardcover ~ $12.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-964-3
Age Range: 7 – 10
My thoughts: Young readers need to learn about the history of this world and its peoples. It helps that this learning is facilitated by cleverly composed fictional tales that include historical information that can be relied upon for accuracy. In the "Dog Chronicles" published by Peachtree this opportunity for educational entertainment is carried to another level - that of engaging the heroics of dogs in the tales and telling the story from a dog's perspective.

Well, of course, we don't know what a dog's perspective is, but just for the fun of the story, let's pretend we do as we learn about a sea-going adventure set in the exploration period of 1519-1521. The reason Leo was on board was to keep vermin, particularly rats, at bay. Dogs are hunters by nature and so to eat they will pursue and eat small creatures. Leo was not a pet in the sense that he was loved and petted. He was simply a tool and a laborer on board.

Since the story is told from his perspective, he experiences the journey completely - hunger, hardships, and storms at sea. He is wary of people but does engage in friendly encounters and friendship.

I love the writing style of Alison Hart as she vividly weaves words that completely enthrall the reader. This is a style and vividness that will appeal to the young reader and grab their attention to the point that they won't want to lay the book aside. Exciting!

The illustrations are well done black on white line drawings that engage the interest of the young reader. Typically the early chapter books for ages 7 to 10 include illustrations that are helpful. That is the case in Leo Dog of the Sea and the illustrations are simply enjoyable no matter the age of the person who picks up this book. 

Peachtree Publishing is a great source for Teacher's Guides to accompany books. The Teacher's Guide for Leo Dog of the Sea (click here for link) includes quotes and discussion questions, a vocabulary match, and a list of research and writing assignment ideas. The informational pages at the end of the book tell of the history behind the story and other valuable points. 

This is a sure winner for classroom libraries as well as school and public libraries everywhere. I highly recommend.

About the book: An action-packed and heartwarming story of a hardened old sea dog on Magellan's journey to Spice Island Leo is a hardened old sea dog. After four ocean voyages, he knows not to trust anyone but himself. But when he sets sail with Magellan on a journey to find a westward route to the Spice Islands, he develops new friendships with Magellan's scribe, Pigafetta, and Marco, his page. Together, the three of them experience hunger and thirst, storms and doldrums, and mutinies and hostile, violent encounters. Will they ever find safe passage? In the fourth book of their Dog Chronicles series, Alison Hart and Michael Montgomery bring readers an exciting tale of friendship and loyalty.
Begins June 1
Ends June 22 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Peachtree Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and freely given.


  1. 1) something about the author- She is an adjunct college instructor teaching reading and writing
    2) another book she has done - Dive Right In

  2. I really do think it helps. They are sterilizing the teaching now. I think the kids just memorize facts. I think they will like stories that intrigue them.

  3. This is wonderful! thanks for sharing. I'd love to win the copy for my grandchildren.

  4. Yes, fictionalized fiction for your people makes learning more fun and helps them learn when they don't even realize it!

  5. Yes fiction history is still another way for children to learn.

  6. Ms. Hart wrote over 20 books. She wrote "Wild Dog".

  7. Yes I think writing these books as historical fiction is much more appealing to children as well as adults than just teaching facts. d[dot]brookmyer[at]yahoo[dot]com

  8. We enjoyed a similar book about Lewis and Clark from a dog's perspective. Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday on this week! Always a pleasure to have you!

  9. I think it can be if it is done properly. When done correctly, it can humanize or make relatable historical figures, movements, and concepts.

  10. Yes, narrative fictionalized history gives the readers something they can relate to versus just being talked at. I would like to win this for an underprivileged school that doesn't even have a library near me. Imagine that.

  11. I know that fictionalized history helped me learn as a child and still does as an yes, I think it's a wonderful tool to teach history.


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