Chips: A Hometown Hero
by Nancy M. West
Review by Heather Froeschl
I imagine it must be difficult to bring history to life for school children. What better way to introduce an important time in our nation’s past than to capture a child’s attention with a unique, but mostly true story? In Nancy West’s book, “CHIPS a Hometown Hero, " readers will come to adore a rambunctious and lovable pup, and cheer him on as he becomes the most highly decorated K9 hero of World War II.
Chips meets his family and begins his puppyhood getting into all sorts of trouble. He has a nose for investigations and he follows it everywhere. During his time with Nan, Gail, baby John, mother and father, Chips shreds his share of line drying laundry, chews on father’s shoes, saves the baby from drowning, and grows to be a very large dog. He is a husky/collie/shepherd mix and he pays tribute to each breed in his actions. When World War II enters every American home with the news of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the family wants to help in whatever way they can. It becomes clear that Chips is in need of a mission and he becomes one of the first enlisted canines in the Dogs for Defense program. Thinking he would be staying in the states, patrolling and providing whatever service he can, his family willingly sends him off to K9 training camp. His actions at camp lead to him being one of the first dogs sent overseas. His actions on the front prove to be heroic. Chips and his handler save lives and truly make a difference. He even gets to meet President Eisenhower…although that doesn’t go quite so well.
This book is based on the real life story of Chips the World War II K9 hero, from Pleasantville, NY. It is a tale that captures the young reader’s attention, making the war something that can begin to be understood. Seeing the story from Chips’ perspective adds to the innocent feel of learning this information for the first time. Throughout the book certain words are italicized and these can easily be looked up in the glossary at the back of the book. Unfamiliar terms like Axis Powers, and Allied Forces, civilian, mascot, and medic become things the reader can understand. Certainly this book should be used in classrooms but for any child aged nine and up who has an interest in dogs, the military, our nation’s wars, or history, Nancy West’s “Chips a Hometown Hero" is a must have.
An exciting, interesting (and fact based!) story that will delight all dog lovers as a special canine tale, I highly recommend this book!
Heather Froeschl is an author, award winning editor, and book reviewer, at http://www.Quilldipper.com and http://www.Bookideas.com