Published by Macmillan Children's Books
Stanley’s dad hasn’t been the same since his wife died and his eldest son went off to fight in the war. Now Stanley is either invisible to his dad or the object of one of his rages, and his only friend is his dad’s prizewinning greyhound, Rocket. But one day Rocket escapes, and the result is a litter of non-thoroughbred puppies that Da says will all have to be drowned, even Stanley’s favourite puppy, Solider. Stanley is so angry with his father that he runs away and enlists in the army to train as a messenger dog handler, and despite being far too young he’s soon heading to France with a great Dane called Bones by his side.
As the fighting escalates and Stanley experiences the horrors of war, he comes to realise that the loyalty of his dog is the one thing he can rely on. But his father hasn’t given up on him, and extraordinary circumstances will bring them together once more . . .
Soldier Dog was the winner of the North East Book Awards. It was long listed for the Branford Boase, the CILIP Carnegie & the Sussex Coast Book Award. It was short listed for the Heart of Hawick Ward, the Hampshire Book Award, the Lennox Author Award, the Centurion Award, the Sussex Coast Award, the East Sussex Award, the Grampian Book Awards, the Cheshire Schools Award & the Hillingdon Award.
“This is one of the best books I have ever read. I strongly recommend this action-packed book to everyone. It is Sam Angus’ best book yet! I give it five stars out of five! Thank you to Sam Angus for writing this brilliant book.” [Finlay Giles, Lennox Author Award reviewer
A number of children’s books have been written about animals employed in The Great War and `Soldier Dog’ is equal to any – including `War Horse’. It is fiction that skilfully unites drama and danger, but it is based on fact with dogs really used by both sides to carry messages as author Sam Angus confirms via a note on The Messenger Dog Service stating how some 100,000 dogs served the warring nations and of these 7,000 were killed. … There is a family rift, there is friendship, there is fear, there is heartbreak, and there is heroism – but essentially `Soldier Dog’ is an emotive story of love, loyalty, courage and bravery. However it is intertwined with an evocatively harrowing portrayal of brutal trench warfare that for young (and older) readers will raise awareness, will be thought provoking, and will be inspirational.”
“This is one of the best books I have ever read. I strongly recommend this action-packed book to everyone. It is Sam Angus’ best book yet! I give it five stars out of five! Thank you to Sam Angus for writing this brilliant book.”
“Prepare for your heart to melt with this wonderful heartbreaking story about a boy’s love for his dog.”
“This can’t help but be a distressing read in lots of places, but it’s also better imagined, better written and more deeply emotive than many adult novels. I sobbed through pretty much the whole of the last third of the book so unless you’re far harder-hearted than me, it’s worth having a box of tissues handy – highly recommended.”
“I loved this book and read it from cover to cover without putting it down; based on a true story the horrors of war are clearly depicted as is the role of the heroic Messenger Dogs who raced between troops carrying messages, fearless and loyal under heavy artillery fire. As I read this story my heart pounded and I had a lump in my throat…truly unputdownable.”
“Prepare for your heart to melt with this wonderful heartbreaking story about a boy’s love for his dog. It’s 1917 and fourteen year old Stanley is yearning for his elder brother, Tom, who is fighting on the front line in France. His dad, Da, is heartbroken after his mother’s death and he is finding life tough. When Stanley believes his dad has drowned his dog, he runs away to join the army in order to find his brother. Will he ever be reunited with his brother in the chaos of the war? Sam Angus tells a powerful story that I would give four stars (out of five). I recommend it for readers age 10+ as it is about war and some bits are very sad. Well done on writing a terrific book, Sam Angus!” [Kate Johnstone, Sandersons Wynd Primary school]
Click here for Soldier Dog Discussion Notes.