Monday, January 25, 2016

Book Review: The Tale of Rescue (dog, snow), an NPR pick for winter reading

The Tale of Rescue, by Michael Rosen with illustrations by Stan Fellows* (Candlewick Press, 2015, 103 pages, $14.99, ages 10 and up, grades 5 and up)

A Novel for All Ages, A Tale about a Cattle Dog

The Tale of Rescue was written for children ages 5 and up with the emphasis on the “up.” It is a special book for adults, too, with a hidden meaning behind the title that will make you smile when you figure it out at the end. (Hint: Don’t skip the epilogue.)

Author Michael Rosen has also placed gems of the English language into Tale such as one comparing life in a blizzard to living in a snow globe, something the Mid-Atlantic states can identify after this weekend of a 30-inch snow!

The Story

A Florida family visits Ohio for a wintery snow weekend (the parents had grown up in snow-winters and wanted their son to experience one). The family of three is staying in a cabin and takes a pre-breakfast hike to the main house one morning when a blizzard suddenly appears causing them to become disoriented, wandering and lost, for several hours.

Obviously they survive or this book would not have been written, but how they survive is the unforgettable essence of the story that you will not soon forget.

No Names Provided, No Names Needed

The family is not named, the cattle dog that lives to work and loves to work has no name, the farmer has no name. No names are needed - until the end when the circle is completed in the epilogue.

Life and Death?

Life and death wrestle for attention, along with positive reinforcement dog training (yippy skippy!).

Color-washed Illustrations

DogEvals does not generally call out the illustrator but the color-washed illustrations by Stan Fellows (who also illustrated The Dog Who Walked with God by Rosen) are simply stunning and would make keepsake stationery or framed posters. Fellows’ style is reminiscent of Japanese artwork or Andrew Wyeth’s skies when focused on landscapes but Fellows’ best work makes his watercolor dogs’ personalities spring off the page and stay in your imagination for a long time.

If you are not yet a fan of cattle dogs, you will be after reading Tale. And you will remember this tale!

*Perhaps, like me, you have read the highly successful Dogs We Love (2008) or My Dog! (2011) by Rosen or even the first collaboration with artist Stan Fellows in 1998, The Dog Who Walked with God.

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