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Sled dogs must love to run. Sled dogs must be strong. Sled dogs must obey commands. Sled dogs must get along with teammates. Puppy Yukon is the only girl in her litter, and she’s got high energy. Could she be a leader in the sled dog team? Trainer Roberta works with the puppies. Yukon is faster and smarter than her brothers. Roberta thinks Yukon can help lead the team! Yukon continues to train with her team for two long years. Is she finally ready to race? Mush! Mush!
A Look Inside Yukon: Sled Dog
From School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—This straightforward narrative tells the story of Yukon, the only female husky born to a litter of future sled dogs, and her owner, Roberta, who trains the pups to become a team. Though the story is well paced, taking readers from the birth to the first race, the text is expository in nature without tension, detailing what sled dog training is like with little nuance. An author's note gives a brief history of dog sledding and reinforces what children learned in the story about how dogs are trained. The pencil illustrations with digital coloring are at times inconsistent, with the humans looking realistic and the dogs more cartoonlike. Roberta can also appear a bit confusing, as her age seems to change.—Danielle Jones, Multnomah County Library, OR
We’ve all seen images of sled dogs straining beneath their owner’s shouts of “Mush! Mush!” But how did those dogs learn such skills? Wonder no more, for Presnall’s low-key fictional look at raising a sled dog reveals the basics. Little cutie Yukon is a newborn husky, and human Roberta is determined to make her into a top-notch racing dog. A colored checklist describes the necessary attributes: “Sled dogs must love to run. Sled dogs must be strong. Sled dogs must obey commands. Sled dogs must get along with teammates.” Each of these qualities are addressed as Yukon runs along a giant hamster wheel, learns the calls of “Hike!” and “Whoa!”, and runs with a log attached to build strength. It all leads up to the eightdog team taking part in an all-day, all-night race—in which they place a respectable second. At times both the text and lightly anthropomorphized paintings struggle to clearly depict the passage of time, but the action is swift and the details interesting. Good job—now here’s your frozen salmon chunk! —Daniel Kraus
About the Author
Judith Janda Presnall is the author of more than twenty books for young readers. Her nonfiction writing projects have led to many research adventures, including dog sledding; visiting prisons; meeting inventors, circus performers, and cowboys; and even climbing Mount Rushmore. Judy is the recipient of several writing awards as well as the Jack London Award for meritorious service to the California Writers Club. She lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband, Lance, and their three cats. Learn more: www.JudithJandaPresnall.com.
Mark Elliott holds a BFA in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts. He recently illustrated When Jackie and Hank Met by Cathy Goldberg Fishman. He has also illustrated a number of middle grade and young adult book covers. His work has been exhibited at the Society of Illustrators and the Art Directors Guild and has appeared in numerous Spectrum Annuals. Mark resides in the lower Connecticut valley with his wife and two stepdaughters. Learn more: www.markelliottonline.com.