The Dog in the Wood, published by Front Street in Nov. 2009
Author: Monika Schröder
Suggested by a local children's librarian in Shaker Heights (yay, librarians!), this is a book written from a perspective that may seem unusual, even a little uncomfortable to some. Fritz is a ten-year-old boy living in Germany in April 1945 as the Russians move in. His story reminds us that ordinary Germans suffered greatly after the war, and that the aftermath of any conflict can be a scary, confusing time.
The Dog in the Wood is very well written, and will be fascinating to children who are interested in history and different cultures. Fritz should be easy to identify with for the 4-6th graders at whom this is aimed, but parents and teachers should be aware that it might be a good book to read in parallel. Some of the scenes are disturbing, although more because of the disturbing nature of the times than any desire on the author's part to upset. Still, people close to Fritz die, and others are taken away, and that is enough reason to be careful.
That said, the book is worth reading, and would be an excellent book for a 5th or 6th grade teacher to use in a class. I would recommend strongly, but with a degree of caution.
Four out of five stars.
See more about The Dog in the Wood on Amazon.com
See more about The Dog in the Wood on Amazon.co.uk