Monday, September 30, 2013

Darling, Mercy Dog of WWI ~ Blog Tour!

Welcome to Day 1 of the Blog Tour. Check out the other stops ~ schedule below.

Darling, Mercy Dog of World War I
by Alison Hart; illustrated by Michael G. Montgomery
160 pages; ages 7-10
Peachtree Publishers, 2013

“Darling is going to be a nurse,” Mistress Katherine said. I felt a tug on my collar as she pulled me toward her.
“Darling is going to be a soldier!” Master Robert declared. A harder tug yanked me toward him.

Escaping from the tug-of-war between her doting humans, Darling squeezes under the fence and into the freedom of the village of Cosham, England. She meets up with her street-wise pal, a terrier named Rags, for a day of running across meadows and chasing sheep.

But 1917 is a tough year for Darling’s family. Father has gone off to war, and the dog tax keeps rising. When the British military put out a call for service dogs, Darling is volunteered. She is trained as a messenger dog, but when one of the soldiers is injured during a training mission, Darling’s real talents come to the fore: she gets help.

Soon Darling is sent to the front as a Mercy Dog, to lead rescue teams to soldiers wounded on the battlefield. She is skilled at her job – but will she ever make it back home, to her loving family?

Alison Hart has created a heartwarming adventure that brings the reader onto the battlefields of World War I and into the life of a military dog. At the back, she’s included lots of resources for the history buff: maps, battles, and facts about dogs serving in today’s military.

But the cool thing: one gets introduced to the history of Mercy Dogs through the eyes – and nose – of Darling. I wanted to know more … and Alison was gracious enough to answer three questions:

Sally’s Bookshelf: You’ve written many horse stories. What inspired you to write a story about a WWI military dog?

Alison with assistant, Fang
Alison: I am a dog lover, so dog books have always been part of my repertoire. I wrote several books for Steck-Vaughn about dogs, but Darling is the first historical fiction. Dogs were almost as important as horses in shaping our history… but there are already a lot of dog books and series, so I needed to come up with a unique idea.  There are no books on Mercy dogs in WW1 for young readers, and I hope I was able to capture an exciting and fresh story with Darling.

SB: What sort of research did you do for this book?

Alison: I'd love to say I flew to England and Belgium and spent weeks traveling, but alas most of my research involves reading, reading and more reading. I did visit a 'trench' and WWI museum exhibits, and used online photos, newsreels, blogs and websites – all crucial for ferreting out tiny details.

SB: So how does one get inside a dog's head to tell a story from the animal’s point of view?

Alison: Getting into the 'head' of any character is easy for me. I have written over sixty books and have “been” a police officer, a detective, a cat, dogs, horses, slaves, and children of different ages, sexes and in different eras. That's what being an author is about!

Darling, Mercy Dog of World War I is the first book in a new series called “Dog Chronicles”. Alison is busy writing book two, Murphy, Gold Rush Dog, which is set in Nome, Alaska. She struck gold when she dug up a book about the Alaskan Gold Rush that contained letters and photos from Nome. As she says – a “real treasure” for a writer.
 This is part of the Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday round-up. Check out more great reading here. Review copy from publisher.

Drop by the other stops on the Blog Tour & a chance to win a copy of the book!

Today you can drop by Blue Owl Reviews.

On Tuesday, stops are at Gidgets Bookworms and Maestra Amanda's Bookshelf

Wednesday stop by the Peachtree blog for the giveaway contest!

Thursday's stop is Kid Lit Reviews

and Friday  the bus stops at Good Reads with Ronna.


  1. Sounds like one my daughter and I would love. We adore dogs and are amazed by the compassionate way they diesire to help humans.

  2. Well, this is just right up my alley, as they say! Our detention boys just recently wrote and performed a play about war dogs and Walker and I played the parts. I was a Mercy dog!! I surely need to read about Darling! Thanks for the review!