Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

War Dogs: Churchill and Rufus

War Dogs: Churchill and Rufus

Kathryn Selbert
Historical Fiction Picture Book
For ages 7 to 10
Charlesbridge Publishing, 2013   ISBN: 978-1580894142

It is 1940 and Winston Churchill is the Prime Minster of Great Britain, a country that is at war. Though a great deal of responsibility rests on Churchill’s shoulders, he does his best to take his dog Rufus for a walk when he can. Rufus is at Churchill’s feet as the man writes his speeches, speeches that are lifting the spirits of the British people. Rufus is also with his master when Churchill goes to the underground bunker where so many vital war decisions are made. Information from all over the world arrives at the bunker and it is where men and women keep track of what is happening in Europe. Churchill even takes Rufus to the House of Commons when he has to give a speech to Britain’s members of parliament.

   During bombing raids that take place at night Churchill and Rufus stay in the bunker. Churchill paces from room to room, knowing all too well that above his head London is burning. In the morning a heart-broken Churchill, with his dog at his heels, walks through the ruins of the great city. He marvels when he sees that his people are not defeated, they keep going on. Like their Prime Minister, they do not “fail or falter” or “weaken or tire.”

   In this splendid picture book the author tells the story of one of the world’s greatest leaders, a man who got his country through a terrible time, and whose words still have the power to move us today. Every double page spread includes a quotation from Churchill’s speeches or writings, and readers will be fascinated to find out that Churchill, “the British Bulldog,” was a loving and devoted dog owner who, during hard times, was comforted by the presence of his canine companion.

   At the back of the book the author provides readers with a timeline and some interesting additional information about Churchill and his beloved dogs.