McCarthy presents young readers with a very important question, "What do you do when the people you are writing about are no longer alive? Nonfiction authors rely on newspaper articles and books and, most recently, websites to learn about their lives. But how accurate are those sources? Not as accurate as you may think! The ideas she poses for young readers are great! What if you are researching an event such as a parade instead of something that can be measured?
One person might say the parade was great, but someone else might say it was boring. Some things are simply a matter of opinion!
And sometimes opinions and facts get blended together, especially when you are dealing with historical events. Such a vitally important idea to keep in mind when we read--kids and adults alike. She presents a few activities for young readers to try, too. There is also a selected Bibliography. A few reviewers have commented that they are disappointed in McCarthy's illustrations, making Balto look cartoon-y and not like the handsome, majestic creature he was.
While I took the style of her illustrations in stride, I do feel that an actual photograph of Balto somewhere in the book would have been a very nice touch. You can, however, see lots of cute pics of him on McCarthy's website: View all 7 comments. Aug 05, Peacegal rated it liked it.
And the book does touch on the fact that Balto was lucky; some sled dogs perished on the tr 3. And the book does touch on the fact that Balto was lucky; some sled dogs perished on the trail when their lungs burst from over-exertion in the freezing weather. Aug 07, Ann rated it really liked it Shelves: Any dog or man willing to risk life and limb to trek through snow and ice to bring medicine to the town of Nome Alaska that has fallen to a case of diphtheria, deserves praise and honor of all sorts!
That's what this book is about, specifically the lead dog Balto of all or part of just such an expedition that occurred in But, this book is more about the "what happened after" than the actual event.
We learn about Balto's rise to fame, his fall from it, and what happens thereafter. I appreci Any dog or man willing to risk life and limb to trek through snow and ice to bring medicine to the town of Nome Alaska that has fallen to a case of diphtheria, deserves praise and honor of all sorts!
The animal angle makes this an easy sell for kids, but they'll be surprised at the depth of what follows. I actually didn't know anything about Balto before I read this - I'd never heard of the famous sled dog team that braved the weather to bring medicine to folks in Nome, Alaska. Aug 03, Brendan White rated it it was amazing Shelves: Back matter is excellent, with suggestions for further research, activ The intense and familiar story of Balto the sled dog's dramatic Alaskan delivery of medicine is depicted in appealing, almost cartoonish illustrations. And the book does touch on the fact that Balto was lucky; some sled dogs perished on the tr 3.
But, I really do think there needed to be more emphasis on the actual trek to Nome - it felt too glossed over and I wanted more to learn just how brave these wonderful dogs and men really were. Plus, I think it would have made the "what came after" all the more powerful. In reading the interesting and informative back matter, McCarthy explains how she does research akin to being "a detective" and how she discovered so many contradicting reports of the actual trek, the dogs and men that took part, and who deserved the credit.
Because of this I wonder of that's one of the reasons she didn't spend much time on the actual adventure to Nome, but then, too, I wonder if there shouldn't have been more mention of the other dogs and men that were a part of it, too. I really liked McCarthy's inclusion of how muddied reports can get, and her ideas for fun activities kids can do to try it out -- a great introduction for kids to learn to analyze everything, and to know that everything is told through someone's perceptions.
This back matter is definitely four or five stars! All in all the book is informative and interesting, but nothing that really captured me.
I still love McCarthy's "Astronaut Handbook" best, but this story is still worth reading since it's based on actual events! View all 4 comments. Apr 11, Nick rated it liked it Shelves: Well written, but I didn't think that the artwork style worked with this story. It is a "what happened next" book about Balto, the famous sled dog who was celebrated for helping to deliver serum to Nome, Alaska in the s.
Of the many dogs and men who made that run possible, Balto was the visible face, with a statue and a silent movie celebrating his heroic efforts in helping stop a diptheria epidemic. After his celebrity waned, he and the other dogs were sold off for stage and sideshow work, u Well written, but I didn't think that the artwork style worked with this story. After his celebrity waned, he and the other dogs were sold off for stage and sideshow work, until rescued by a popular campaign.
It's nice to learn that part of the story, and the notes in the back of the book will teach kids valuable lessons about researching non-fiction for reports and other writing. I still didn't like the artwork, though. It felt much too cartoony for the subject matter. I found it distracting to be reading about a life-threatening illness, or dogs dying from the cold, illustrated by cutesy cartoons.
The story of Balto goes beyond the Iditarod inspiring run to Nome with the vaccine--what happened next is just as or perhaps even more fascinating.
And McCarthy tells that story well. But her own illustrations, cartoonish and full of pop eyed dogs, don't do Balto justice. The cover looks more like an image from a Nicktoon show than the story of a beautiful, brave dog. Jul 10, Betsy rated it really liked it. Nonfiction doggies proliferate as well but I can usually steer clear of them.
Unless Meghan McCarthy is involved, of course. In this particular case, Ms. McCarthy has taken what at first appears to be a well-known story then finds the lesser known tales lurking inside of it. An epidemic of diphtheria was imminent and yet a horrible blizzard was preventing all incoming planes from delivering the much needed serum. Sled dogs, you see, were dispatched with the serum on board and Balto was at the head of one of these teams. What is less well known is what happened next. Balto was celebrated throughout the States, appearing in movies, on dog food cans, and even earning a statue in Central Park.
Sadly, he and his team went on the vaudeville circuit and ended up underfed and neglected. Yet surprisingly the good people of Cleveland banded together to purchase the brave dog and his sled mates. Even had a terrible animated film based on his life has any other real life heroic animal received such an honor? Yet as it happens the choice to pursue his story after the well-known event was what sets this book apart from the pack ho ho. By page twelve the book has covered the part of the tale that everyone knows. The picture book biography is a strange beastie.
Your readership, for one thing, consists of a wide range of ages.
In this particular case, the mistreatment of Balto and his fellow sled dogs. Sold to a man with a sideshow, McCarthy makes it clear that things look bad for Balto. Yet no one wants to look at abused animals in a picture book, even if it is a true story. She shows Balto and another dog against a gray background with thick chains attached to their collars.
On the next page Balto watches as the man from Cleveland tries to do business with the sideshow owner. McCarthy even gives one of his ears a half-cocked look, just to make the impression that all is not well. Like I say, I usually find this to be a problem, but for Ms. McCarthy I will always make an exception. The reason for this has to do with her track record.
By and large, when you pick up a Meghan McCarthy book you pick up a picture book work of nonfiction that has some of the finest end matter in the biz, be it a biography of a hawk , or the finer points of space travel. The endmatter in that particular book contained some fun exercises that kids could do on their own. This was, to be blunt about it, an inane bone to pick with the book. So while I cannot tell you what this book will say in the end, I can at least rest assured in my own mind that whatever it contains, it should be well thought out, well researched, and interested. But, as I say, I did not see it myself to be fair warned.
A picture book work of nonfiction that reads like a picture book work of fiction is a valuable commodity. Subject matter is key, of course, as are intelligent illustrations that engage even as they inform. Display this book and expect a hoard of kids who want to know more about the cute dog on the cover. Teaching history was never so easy. For ages 4 and up.
Sep 11, Valeria Ayala-Nazario rated it really liked it Shelves: This book is about a dog, Balto, who was once doubted by people on his abilities to a dog leader on a mission to transport medicines during a storm in Alaska. After completing the mission, Balto and the rest of the dogs became celebrities and everyone in the world wanted to praise and meet them. Balto and the rest of the dogs were sold to multiple people many times until people forgot about them. A former owner saw Balto again and wanted to buy him back. They asked for a lot of money for Balto, This book is about a dog, Balto, who was once doubted by people on his abilities to a dog leader on a mission to transport medicines during a storm in Alaska.
They asked for a lot of money for Balto, so the former owner received funds from kids in a school in Cleveland. Balto was back happy and with his owner, who donated him to his teammates. This book has great diversity in it. Not many states or countries use dogs as transportation.
Therefore, this book would be of great help to introduce students to those different topics. Also, to teach children to donate what they can to great causes like the kids in this story did to help Balto and his owner reunite. Also, this book is set a year ago. Therefore, it could serve for students to understand timelines and have an idea of how life was years ago. The illustrations are mainly darker colors, which may not interest students, but the actual drawings and great to tell the story with. Aug 03, Brendan White rated it it was amazing Shelves: This book is a winner of the Young Readers' Choice Award.
The true story centers on a dog named Balto who, in , saved people in Alaska who were sick with diphtheria. During a blizzard, Balto led his dogsled team to deliver lifesaving medicine to the ill.
When the country heard about Balto and his heroic efforts, he became a celebrity. Sadly, Balto and his team of dogs were exploited and mistreated. Fortunately, a kind businessman started a collection to buy Balto and his team. The fundraising was successful and Balto and the other dogs were donated to a zoo where they happily lived the rest of their lives. The history in the book is fascinating. Although the book is nonfiction, it appears like a fictional picture book because the plot and characters seem imagined.
Children will appreciate learning about a true story and a real dog. I rated this book 5 out of 5 stars for introducing children to this interesting, historical story in a heartwarming and empathetic manner. As I was already aware of the story about Balto and the dog sled teams that rushed the serum to Nome, what I found interesting is the manner in which Meghan McCarthey gathered her facts for the book.
Balto was the lead dog on a dogsled team that was instrumental in saving lives in , when a shipment of medicine was desperately needed in blizzard-bound Nome, Alaska to combat a deadly epidemic of diphtheria. With no alternative method of delivery available in those days, Balto led the team of dogs and their owner for many miles through deep, blinding snow to successfully deliver the medicine. This made Balto famous. He modeled for a statue that still stands in New York City's Central Park, and he was the four-legged star of a silent movie.
But then the dogs were sold, first to an owner who presented them in a vaudeville show and, then, to another owner who ran a sideshow and didn't treat them well. Things again turned around for Balto and his teammates when a Cleveland businessman successfully spearheaded a public campaign to buy the dogs and move them to where they would be provided better care. The danger and daring nature of Balto's historic feat make this an exciting story.
Meghan McCarthy has a very recognizable and kid-friendly illustration style that makes this story really fun. Together, these qualities, by themselves, make this a must-have book. It was Balto's feat and fame that inspired the present-day Iditarod --promoted as "The Last Great Race on Earth" -- in which dogsled teams cover 1, miles of Alaskan trails over a couple of weeks.
Part of the Iditarod race covers the same trails that Balto followed. So this book provides a connection to my beloved buddy Gary Paulsen, the award-winning author who has run the Iditarod several times. I've heard plenty of times over the course of my life that we live in a throw-away society. Some try to make it sound as though things were better in the "old days. Just as we see Balto being "thrown away" once his 15 minutes of fame has passed, we as a society seem to have always thrown away people and principles just as easily as we throw away an outgrown frock or toy.
Over the past 78 years, since Franklin Delano Roosevelt became President the same year that Balto died, and -- at the insistence of Labor Secretary Frances Perkins -- began setting up a societal safety net for the poor and elderly and unemployed, there has been an ever-present tension between two opposing forces in our country. On one side are those who support the use of public monies for helping others who are old or poor or under-educated and those who, to quote my hero Mario Cuomo, "believe that the wagon train will not make it to the frontier unless some of the old, some of the young, some of the weak are left behind by the side of the trail.
Finally, I love this book because I have always been fascinated by history and by change. Ever since my eighth grade American history teacher shared her first-hand experience about daily life in America during World War II -- the shortages and the rationing coupons and the recycling and the blackouts -- I have never gotten enough of looking at the similarities and differences between Then and Now.
And so, I figure that there are plenty of kids out there that will get a kick out of how things were different eighty-five years ago. Just like I do. Mar 13, Jessi rated it really liked it. I really did enjoy this book, and I especially like the illustrations. I like the story of Balto, too. However, I was just reading through it and there was one line in particular that caught me off guard: Some dogs died on the way because their lungs burst from the cold.
I would have preferred to have seen a I really did enjoy this book, and I especially like the illustrations. I would have preferred to have seen a less graphic description of what happened on Balto's journey to save Nome, Alaska. Since the book is meant for kids, it might have been better to say something along the lines of "It was fifty below zero when the journey began.
Some of the dogs died along the way. Like I said, the illustrations were particularly charming in this book- which is what drew me to this title in the first place. Who can resist a book featuring a cute, bug-eyed dog on the cover? Mar 02, Amy rated it liked it Shelves: We have been fascinated by the story of Balto since we saw him taxidermy in Cleveland last summer so when I saw this book I new we wanted to read it. We had done quite a bit of reading on him already so there really wasn't much new information for us in this book. I was hoping it would be a great picture book version of his story though.
Eh - not so great. He was a beautiful dog and in this book he pretty much looks like the dog on The Simpsons. My daughter LOVES to draw cartoons of dogs but w We have been fascinated by the story of Balto since we saw him taxidermy in Cleveland last summer so when I saw this book I new we wanted to read it. Oh - and neither one of us really needed to read the lines about dogs dying because their lungs exploded from the cold, esp. I think she enjoyed this book because she likes Balto but she will be much more likely to pick up our other Balto book when she wants to read about him again.
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The Incredible Life of Balto Hardcover – August 9, The Bravest Dog Ever: The True Story of Balto (Step-Into-Reading) by Natalie Standiford Paperback $ MEGHAN McCARTHY is the author of several critically acclaimed nonfiction picture books, including Aliens Are Coming!. The Incredible Life of Balto has ratings and 45 reviews. Kathryn said: I'm a big fan of Meghan McCarthy. Her books are engaging, entertaining and inf.
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