#1126 – Leo, Dog of the Sea by Alison Hart & Michael G. Montgomery

Leo, Dog of the Sea
Series: Dog Chronicles, #4
Written by Alison Hart
Illustrated by Michael G. Montgomery
Peachtree Publishers 4/01/2017
176 pages    Ages 7—10

“Leo is a hardened old sea dog. After three ocean voyages, Leo knows not to trust anyone but himself.

“But shortly after training your dog with Captain General Ferdinand Magellan on a journey to find a westward route to the Spice Islands, he discovers Marco, a young stowaway, on board. Though he is determined not to get involved, Leo saves the boy’s life when a storm nearly washes him overboard.

“Now Leo finds himself developing friendships for the first time—with Marco, who has become a page, and Pigfetta, Magellan’s scribe. Together, the three of them experience hunger and thirst, storms and doldrums, as well as mutinies, violence, and hostile encounters. Will they ever find a safe passage and reach their destination?” [BACK COVER]

The Story
[WC 318]
Portuguese Captain General Ferdinand Magellan is guiding a four-ship armada for the King of Spain. He is to bring back riches from the Spice Islands. To do this, Magellan needs to find a way to cross from the Atlantic Ocean into the Pacific Ocean. No one has ever done this, and it is unknown if it is even possible. His men suffer from the extremities: heat stroke and frostbite, violent storms, whipping winds, and even calm ship-stalling doldrums. Many die.

Once, a storm was so violent the crashing waves almost send young Marco over the ship’s rail and into the dark, swirling sea. But the little dog grabbed the boy and held tight. When the waves shifted, the ship tilted forcing both dog and boy onto the deck. The boy remained there, frightened, holding onto the brave little dog. From that point on, this little rat-chasing dog has a name: Leo . . . Leo, the Brave.
Magellan finds the correct passage and makes it to the Pacific sea. He is sure the Spice Islands are not far ahead. He finds several islands, though not the Spice Islands. Magellan becomes obsessed with converting the natives to Christianity and taking the land for the King of Spain. One tribe heartily agreed, but then, after Magellan did its king’s dirty work, the natives rose up against Magellan and his crew. Those who made it back to the ships were extremely lucky. Magellan had run out of luck. The “why did that happen” will surprise most readers. Leo, the Brave proved himself once more. He was becoming loyal to Marco and Pigfetta, and finding friendships with people can be a good thing.

Those who fought their way back to a ship survived. New captains rose up and the ships found The Spice Islands. After two years, the remaining ships circumvented the globe, a world first, finding their way back to Spain.

[WC 406]
Leo, the Sea Dog is historical fiction based on Magellan’s 16th century voyage to the Spice Islands, circumventing the globe along the way. The troubles his crew went through are all true, as is the treachery of the natives. Leo, the Brave narrates the story, giving readers an objective view of the ship and its crew. Unfortunately, according to the extensive Author’s Note, the Trinidad did not have a Leo on board to chase mice, though it was common for ships to have such a dog.
Leo starts out determined to remain a loner, not afraid of people but not trustful of them. During the storm in which he saves young Marco’s life, Leo’s innate abilities kick in, and he becomes a hero. Kids will love this about Leo, especially kids who have a dog. Leo makes it easy and reasonable to imagine your own dog becoming a hero—or being Leo.

Kids will love reading about Leo, which gives the author an opening to teach children about Magellan and blindly sailing the seas in the sixteenth-century. The unknown scared the crew and, with good reason, probably Magellan. The environment alone is terribly cruel. The story is compelling, easy to understand, and so exciting it can trigger the brain to remember the story. With Leo, the Sea Dog comes many wonderful facts about Magellan’s trip to find the Spice Islands.
Teachers will find Leo, the Sea Dog, and the entire Dog Chronicle Series, worthy adjunct texts. History can be dry and boring. Spicing it up by first reading a related historical fiction novel (or during), may help increase students interest and retention of the facts. Leo’s story will place facts into kids’ heads before a teacher gets to his or her lessons.

Leo, the Sea Dog is fast-paced chapter book, filled with compelling action that will keep readers turning the pages. It certainly had me on the edge of my seat. I believe we all ate late the day I began reading Leo, the Sea Dog. I loved the bits of humor readers will find at unexpected moments, like when Leo returns to his hidden nest and finds Marco fast asleep. Leo, the Brave learns to trust through necessity—to save lives. He learns loyalty from friendship. And he’s a pretty good role model for a dog of astronomical age (when figured in dog-years).
Back matter includes an extensive, not-to-be-missed Author’s Note. Hart’s research was extensive and what is not in the story she shares in her Author’s Note. A bibliography and further reading suggestions are also included.

LEO, DOG OF THE SEA (DOG CHRONICLES #4). Text copyright © 2017 by Alison Hart. Illustrations copyright © 2017 by Michael G. Montgomery. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Peachtree Publishers, Atlanta, Ga.

Available at:  AmazonIndie BooksPeachtree Publishers

Add LEO, DOG OF THE SEA to Your Goodreads Shelf HERE.
Teacher’s Guide is HERE.
Q & A with Author, Alison Hart HERE.
Read an Excerpt HERE.

Dog Chronicle Series
Finder, Coal Mine Dog (2015)
Murphy, Gold Rush Dog (2014)
Darling, Mercy Dog of World War I (2013) [reviewed here]

Illustrations from LEO, DOG OF THE SEA by Alison Hart copyright © 2017 by Michael G. Montgomery. Used with permission from Peachtree Publishers.

Follow the Book Tour!
Monday 3/27 at Kid Lit Reviews √ you are here!
Tuesday 3/28 at Librarian’s Quest
Wednesday 3/29 at Good Reads with Ronna
Thursday 3/30 at Boys to Books
Friday 3/31 at Ms. Yingling Reads

Copyright © 2017 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Leo, Dog of the Sea
Series: Dog Chronicles, #4
Written by Alison Hart
Illustrated by Michael G. Montgomery
Peachtree Publishers 4/01/2017

7 thoughts on “#1126 – Leo, Dog of the Sea by Alison Hart & Michael G. Montgomery

  1. Pingback: Leo, Dog of the Sea Blog Tour Review & GiveawayGood Reads With Ronna

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