An experienced Iditarod racer, Gary Paulsen celebrates his lead dog and longtime companion, Cookie, in this intimate essay. Paulsen takes readers inside the kennel as Cookie’s last litter of pups grow and learn to pull sleds across the snowy frontier.
Includes an author's note.
Paulsen is at the top of his form in this tribute to his sled dog Cookie, previously introduced in the adult title Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod. With the same rugged reverence for wilderness that underscores his classic Hatchet, Paulsen trains a sharp eye on the dogs and puppies he kenneled in his northern Minnesota home and trained as sled dogs until heart disease obliged his retirement from the sport. Elizabeth Marshall Thomas might envy his powers of observation as he reports on the dogs' behavior (including the dogs' conscious attempts to teach the pups various skills). The finest moments belong to Cookie, who more than once saved Paulsen's life. She emerges heroically, a formidable presence whose animal nature is unsoftened by any anthropomorphisms. The high-quality production--fine paper stock; the paintings included as plates; etc.--will make it easy to cross-shelve this book alongside adult titles; it would be a shame to use age to limit the readership of this soulful and stirring tale, a love story every bit as much as an adventure story. Ages 10-up.