If you love the Iditarod and you want your children (or children you're fond of) to be introduced to this great race, the story of Balto and the Great Race by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel is a good place to start, beginning with the cover illustration by Nora Köerber. This book is a Stepping Stones chapter book with black and white illustrations throughout.
At the beginning of the book is a map of Alaska showing the Iditarod railroad and dogsled trail, along with some illustrations depicting the basic story of this great race against time to get much-needed diphtheria serum to Nome in 1925.
Balto is a Siberian husky born to run, and to lead. He guided his musher, Gunnar Kaasen, into Nome on the final leg of the journey, when only this magnificent dog could sense the way through a terrible, deadly blizzard with no trail to follow and wind at such strength it tossed Kaasen and dogsled into the air, almost losing their precious cargo. A short time before this near...
We purchased this book after seeing the real Balto (courtesy of the art of taxidermy) at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Our quest in Northeast Ohio, where Balto enjoyed his senior years, was prompted by my seven year-old daughter's love-affair with the animated film about this dog, who navigated a lost sled team carrying life-saving medicine through Alaska in 1925. I hereby confess publicly that, after myself reading the book, which is aimed at the 9 year-old set, I cried, much as I had done 35 years before after reading "Lassie Come Home." This account, however, is much more compelling than "Lassie" or "Old Yeller," because it entirely factual (possibly excepting the subjective thoughts imputed to the protagonist). The author did her homework researching this story about a sled dog who was just one of the pack facing poor odds against daunting weather and unrequiting expanses of blinding snow and ice. When the alpha dog loses the trail, and another refuses to lead,...
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