Booklist Review - Rags, Hero Dog of WW1
Booklist (Jul 2014)
Mirroring the similarly incredible story behind Ann Bausum’s Stubby the War Dog (2014), Raven’s look at this “small, scrappy gutter-pup” is sweet, exciting, and poignant. It was by chance that Private James Donovan of the U.S. Army’s Fightin’ First Division stepped on the stray’s paw. Donovan took Rags with him to the battlefront, and Rags, unaccustomed to kindness, leaped out the window at headquarters to join his master in the trenches. To repay Donovan’s companionship and sharing of rations, Rags chased trench rats, warned soldiers of incoming shells, bit an enemy soldier, and, most important, transported “Go Find”messages that Donovan tucked into his collar. An October 1918 attack injured both man and mutt, and though Rags was left with permanent disabilities, he stayed with his friend until Donovan died from his wounds. Raven’s clear, emotional prose does not delve much into WWI history, but Brown’s grungy, textured art—especially tender when depicting Rags’ makeshift gas mask—provides all the context that readers will need.