The True Story of Balto

Written by Natalie Standiford • Illustrated by Donald Cook

Reviewed by Mark A. (age 7)

Do you want to read a book about a brave dog? Do you want to read a book about Nome’s history? Then this will be a great read for you. The True Story of Balto is based on a true story about one brave owner named Gunnar and one brave dog who saved Nome. His name was Balto. The story is about two kids that got a sickness called diphtheria (dif-THEER-ee-ah). If the children don’t get the medicine they will die. But there is no medicine in Nome! So doctors of Anchorage put the medicine on the train. But the train got stuck in the deep snow of Alaska! So the citizens of Nome held a meeting and they planned a dog-sled relay and Gunnar entered it! Will Gunnar and Balto make it to the kids? Will the kids get the medicine in time? You will have to read the book and find out! I think the big idea is that never take a train across Alaska or the train will get stuck in the snow.

My first favorite part is when Gunnar entered the dog-sled relay. That is my favorite part because I think he was thinking “I don’t know what the problem is, but I will still enter the dog-sled relay, just to save Nome. After that I will feel like a hero!” I know how a hero feels like and a hero feels very very proud. I like this book because this book is non-fiction and I like non-fiction books and movies. The illustrations are really really unique because in the sky he used color blending. For example he mixed yellow with orange and blue with purple. I like Balto because he went through cracking ice, snow drifts, and more. This book is different from some books because it is a non-fiction story and usually non-fiction books have photos, but this one is with illustrations. The first time I ever read this book I wondered what the ending was because the author made a great story that I wanted to wonder about it.

I recommend this book to 1st – 3rd graders because there might be some hard words that kindergarteners don’t know how to pronounce and it might be too easy for 4th and 5th graders. I think that dog lovers should read this book because the main character is a dog. I think kids should read this book because it is very exiting and sometimes makes you read more.

Mark A. is a student in Amy's 2nd Grade Class
2008-2009