The Dogs Of Winter by Bobbie Pyron
Ivan’s world is quickly turned upside down when one day he is happily in the care of his mother and grandmother and it feels like almost the next he is alone… abandoned, on the streets of Moscow.
When Ivan’s grandmother suddenly dies, his mother falls into a deep crushing depression and can not escape it. She leaves Ivan to the man she loved who wants nothing to do with him (after all… his relationship was never about Ivan) and puts him in an orphanage. When Ivan escapes, he finds help in the form of a pack of dogs who become his source of self-esteem and in a way his family.
Ivan soon finds himself living a life of a pack, roaming the countryside, searching for food and adventure, wild and free. His once gentle nature changes to a more cunning, street smart way of thinking. When eventually help is offered, Ivan must choose to go back to being in a secure home or remain with his new friends and understanding of the world.
The Dogs of Winter will blow you away. Not only is this a gorgeous middle grade (and up) style of read written in beautiful chapters, it is a knock your socks off in your face reality of how quickly our world, our security can change.
Uhhh…. did I mention this is based on a true story?
I am always careful when choosing books about animals – especially dogs as they are too near and dear to my heart. However this is not an “Old Yeller” read… it is more of an adventure, and a wild one at that. For every young boy or girl who ever dreamed of BIG adventure, this is an incredible story… but it is also a very real and at times painful story as well of loss and crushing loneliness. While I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I would think if middle grade students read it (ages 9- 12) they may want someone to talk to about it afterwards.
For me, I am so impressed by this book, the incredible story of the human spirit and the amazing connections we can have between dog and man.