Sunday, May 3, 2009



Written and Illustrated by: Robert J. Blake

Publisher: Philomel Books, 2002

ISBN #: 0-399-23381-4


A small, wild and independent puppy, Togo was not expected to be a sled dog--especially a lead sled dog. Given to a woman to be a pet by his original owner Leonhard Seppala had no plans to make Togo a part of his dog sled team. However Togo was determined to become a sled a dog. That determination would go on to make him a vital part of the historic sled run that delivered the serum to Nome that would save the city form a life-threatening diphtheria outbreak.

My Thoughts on This Book:

This book not only won several awards, but also was nominated for many awards as well. I think it was definitely deserving of every honor it received. This beautiful story was inspiring, as well as informative. I, like so many others was aware of Balto's role in the great serum run, but had no idea about the role Togo played in this historic event. Robert Blake has done something wonderful in recording this heroic dog's story so that students can learn about Togo's bravery and determination to lead his team to a successful run. Blake's realistic illustrations help transport the reader to Alaska in 1925, and makes the reader feel like they are right there with Seppala and his dog team, braving the elements and helping get the serum to Nome. This book is a treasure that must be shared with students.

Review Excerpts:
From School Library Journal: "Many people feel that Togo is an unsung hero, and so will readers, who will feel the terrible cold depicted chillingly in Blake's paintings. The urgency and desperation come across clearly in both the dramatic text and the full-page impressionistic paintings. The dogs are not anthropomorphized, but their expressions are haunting. Pair this first-rate historical adventure with Natalie Standiford's The Bravest Dog Ever: The True Story of Balto (Random, 1989) or with Blake's Akiak: A Tale from the Iditarod (Philomel, 1997)."

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