I received this book for free from Scholastic Press in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

{Prisoners of War: C. Alexander London}Prisoners of War by C. Alexander London
Series: Dog Tags
Published by Scholastic Press on January 7, 2014
Genres: Junior High, Middle School, Realistic Fiction
Pages: 192
Format: Paperback
Source: Scholastic Press
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{Synopsis} – Man's best friend goes to war.

Two enemy soldiers. One uneasy alliance.

Miguel is a medic in the US Army. Stationed in a remote Belgian forest during World War II, he's expecting a quiet tour of duty. But the Nazis have other ideas. They launch a surprise attack . . . one that separates Miguel from his entire division.

Alone and lost in enemy territory, Miguel discovers an abandoned dog, left behind by German forces. The dog could be just the ally Miguel needs to get out of the forest alive. There's a catch, though. The dog has been trained by the Nazis to see Miguel as the enemy. Can a young soldier teach an old dog new tricks?

DOG TAGS is a series of stand-alone books, each exploring the bond between soldier and dog in times of war.

{My thoughts} – “Perhaps the greatest horror of all. War doesn’t just kill and maim and destroy. It numbs, like the cold numbs, but in a deeper place. It numbs the feelings of kindness and mercy and remorse. It freezes the heart. My heart felt cold right then, and I wasn’t sure it would ever thaw.”

Miguel is a young boy that has joined the U.S. Army. He lied about his age and he enlisted. He has this attitude about him that lets you to believe that he feels he is confident about going up against the Nazi’s in the beginning of the book. However, as the book continues his confidence begins to waver. He’s a Mexican American and he is trained to be a medic. He is dropped in the war under the command of the Ninety-Ninth Infantry. It is a week or so before Christmas and he is now engaging in WWII.

His first taste of war isn’t what he had expected. When the blasts started happening he kept being called from place to place, but it was his foxhole pal Goldsmith that had helped him to get his head on straight enough to get out of the foxhole and do his job. He was able to help a few fellow soldiers before he was knocked out by a falling tree in a foxhole next to his dead Sergeant. When he woke up all that remained was a bunch of dead and a doberman pinscher that was tethered to a dead German SS soldiers hand.

Miguel wasn’t sure what to do at first, but he’d decided that he was going to need the help of the dog if he had any chance in finding his fellow soldiers and friend Goldsmith. Once he was able to somewhat get the dog to join his side, he had started calling him Yutz. Yutz according to Goldsmith meant foolish in Yiddish. The pair however unlikely had traveled together and met a common ground for awhile. The dog had led him to his friend and the rest of the captured Americans from his infantry.

Once they had reached this place there was a major turning point in the story. In what happened between him and Yutz, what became of his fellow soldiers and his friend. I am not surprised at the turn out of the book because it is a work of fiction, but it does manage to keep you reading and keep you on your toes. The description with in the pages is so well done that it is easy to devour page after page.

I really have enjoyed reading this series up to this point and look forward to reading the last book in the series. I enjoy how it has factual information blended in with the fiction, but it doesn’t stray so far from the facts that it isn’t reading like something that truly could have happened at that time. There are so many children out that that enjoy reading about war and learning about it, and this helps them to get a sort of history lesson while they read and I think that it’s an absolutely brilliant way for the writer to help children to become more aware of past events and the ways in which things had taken place and or been done. I can honestly say when I was in school taking history there was no mention of the use of dogs or any animals to aide in the battles that were taken place it was just dry facts. These books help to make it not so boring and more enjoyable to read and I think that many teachers could benefit from adding them to their required reading lists throughout the year.

Final Conclusion: 5 Star Rating.