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Ride a Pale Horse
Helen MacInnes
The Samurai's Wife
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The Wolfhound - Kristine L. Franklin, Kris Waldherr I'm a sucker for stories that take place in Russia (or the Soviet Union), so when I found this beautifully illustrated book set in Tsarist Russia, I had to read it to the kids.

I have to say that my niece and nephew aren't giddy about dog stories. My nephew in particular isn't even really a dog fan, so when we started reading this articulate, artistic book about a dog, it was clear he was not engaged. And then, in typical Russian literary style, things got bleak and events teetered upon the edge of tragedy. At that point, both my niece and nephew tuned in. They got so quiet you could have heard a pin drop, and their little faces were pressed together as they stared at the book just waiting to find out how things were going to go for Pavel and the wolfhound.

I'd love to give The Wolfhound four stars, but honestly, despite the gorgeous illustrations and the quality of the writing here, the story itself is probably not going to be that memorable to my niece and nephew. It's pretty, but I can't really say that it's truly unique. There are lots of poor-doggie-in-need-of-rescue stories on the market. The end was also somewhat predictable for my niece (who needs to come with her very own spoiler alert sign), and she spoiled the ending for my nephew.

Still, this story isn't at all bad, and the illustrations are great, so I think that for a dog-loving kid, this might just be an excellent choice.