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Book makes war seem real

May 15, 2007|by SYDNEY TOOLEY

Cynthia Kadohata has written several books, including Newbery Award-winning "Kira-Kira." She is a good writer.

This spring, she published "Cracker!: The Best Dog in Vietnam." I think this is a great book.

Though it is fiction, this book contains many facts about the Vietnam War. The story is told from the viewpoint of two characters - Rick Hanski, who, at the young age of 17, volunteers for duty in Vietnam; and Cracker, a 2-year-old female German shepherd.

At the beginning of the book, Cracker lived a carefree life. Then she is sent to war. Cracker doesn't want to be where she is and does not like anyone. She tries to bite anyone who comes near.

Rick is assigned as dog handler for Cracker by a sergeant who knows Cracker is impossible to handle. Nevertheless, Rick and Cracker soon bond and end up in the field together. The work is hard. They are sent on many dangerous missions where Cracker is trying to keep many men alive, not just Rick.

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The book was well written. I felt like I was actually there in Vietnam, living in the war, and some parts were so emotional, I cried.

Also, Kadohata portrays both character's points of view well. Cracker thinks like a dog but is very smart. Sometimes, reading her chapters, I forgot that it was a dog's point of view.

I would recommend this book to ages 12 and older because it's pretty serious almost all the way through. Moms and dads will like this story, too, so don't be shy at suggesting your parents read the book when you're finished.

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