Life on the streets of Moscow is hard, and when five-year-old Mishka is abandoned he joins a group of homeless children in the hope of survival. But the leader of this rag-tag group is tough, and Mishka must learn to beg, and perhaps even to steal. When the harsh winters come, he finds out who he can really rely on. Dogs. Mishka becomes part of the pack, and he and the dogs look after each other, finding food and shelter. Mishka is not out of danger – he’s still hungry, still struggling – but with the dogs he feels safer. He has a family now. But can it last?
This is a very powerful tale, even more so because it is based on a true story. Pyron creates the bond between Mishka and the dogs beautifully, each of the dogs – from Little Mother, to Lucky or Smoke – has its own personality. This isn’t a happy read, as Pyron shows the harsh realities of Mishka’s life. She writes Mishka very well, his point of view is a convincing one, and she also enables the reader to have a deeper understanding of the circumstances than Mishka, at five, can have. With strong characters and evocative settings, this is a heart-wrenching read about love, survival and the true meaning of family.
Review originally for Inis Magazine http://www.inismagazine.ie/reviews/book/the-dogs-of-winter Check out their website for more reviews, and great feature articles!
A great adventure story, for age 12+, especially those who love dogs!