Cover image for Togo
Title:
Togo
Author:
Blake, Robert J.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Philomel Books, [2002]

©2002
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : chiefly color illustrations, map ; 22 x 29 cm
Summary:
In 1925, Togo, a Siberian husky who loves being a sled dog, leads a team that rushes to bring diphtheria antitoxin from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
420 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.8 0.5 59496.

Reading Counts RC K-2 3.3 2 Quiz: 32025 Guided reading level: M.
Geographic Term:
ISBN:
9780399233814
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Togo wasn't meant to be a sled dog. He was too feisty and independent to make a good team member, let alone a leader. But Togo is determined, and when his trainer, Leonhard Seppala, gives him a chance, he soon becomes one of the fastest sled dogs in history! His skills are put to the ultimate test, though, when Seppala and his team are called on to make the now-famous run across the frozen Arctic to deliver the serum that will save Alaska from a life-threatening outbreak of diphtheria.

In the style of Akiak, winner of the Irma S. and James H. Black Award for Excellence in Children's Literature, along with five state awards, Robert J. Blake's detailed, carefully researched oil paintings complete the story of the adventure that inspired the internationally famous Iditarod race.


Author Notes

Robert J. Blake was born and raised in New Jersey. As a boy he made "tons of drawings" and used up thousands of crayons. He says, "I even did a huge crayon mural on our hallway that was not artistically appreciated by my parents."

Sharing one large room with two older brothers was "total chaos," he recalls. "We had lots of animals - dogs, ducks, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, lizards, turtles, snakes, birds, fish, and even two flying squirrels. And, oh yes, a tarantula. I think my parents were afraid to come up to our room."

Mr. Blake now resides in New Jersey with his wife and son. He works in his studio, a renovated barn on his property. Mr. Blake says, "I would like to paint in every state in the United States and in every country in the world."

"I hope my books lend the reader a feeling, and emotion, a new point of view, a new way to look at something that they might not have experienced otherwise."


Robert J. Blake was born and raised in New Jersey. As a boy he made "tons of drawings" and used up thousands of crayons. He says, "I even did a huge crayon mural on our hallway that was not artistically appreciated by my parents."

Sharing one large room with two older brothers was "total chaos," he recalls. "We had lots of animals - dogs, ducks, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, lizards, turtles, snakes, birds, fish, and even two flying squirrels. And, oh yes, a tarantula. I think my parents were afraid to come up to our room."

Mr. Blake now resides in New Jersey with his wife and son. He works in his studio, a renovated barn on his property. Mr. Blake says, "I would like to paint in every state in the United States and in every country in the world."

"I hope my books lend the reader a feeling, and emotion, a new point of view, a new way to look at something that they might not have experienced otherwise."


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 2^-4. Can you name the most heroic sled dog in history? It's not Balto, as Blake points out; the team that Balto led covered only the final, 53-mile leg of the rescue mission that carried diphtheria serum to beleaguered Nome in 1925. Honors might more justly go to Balto's kennel-mate, Togo, lead dog of a team that carried the life-saving cargo 350 miles, through deadly weather and over dangerously weak ice. Blake takes a few liberties with the accompanying text, using some invented dialogue and lines such as, "But Togo didn't want to be a pet." But he paints a vivid word-picture of bitter, deadly conditions and the grueling effort required to surmount them, reinforcing it with dramatic art that brings out the textures of snow and fur, and the spirit of the small, indomitable dog as it forges across rugged, frozen landscapes. Blake concludes with a brief account of his on-site research for information; his compelling tribute is sandwiched between endpaper maps tracing the mission's entire route. --John Peters


School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 5-Togo is a spirited puppy, determined to be a sled dog even though his owner, Leonhard Seppala, does not think he has what it takes. He's small for a Siberian husky, and much too independent. When he is only eight months old, he breaks through a fence and finds his owner's team on a supply run; it takes only a day for him to prove himself as a musher. Soon the young dog is leading his team in races, and breaking speed records every time. When Togo is eight years old, Seppala is asked to make an emergency relay run to pick up a serum that can stop the diphtheria epidemic threatening the entire population of Nome, AK. Togo leads his team over 350 miles through storms, suffering terribly, and with almost no rest. While it is another dog, Balto, that became famous for the serum run of 1925, he actually led the final team in the relay, running 53 miles. Many people feel that Togo is an unsung hero, and so will readers, who will feel the terrible cold depicted chillingly in Blake's paintings. The urgency and desperation come across clearly in both the dramatic text and the full-page impressionistic paintings. The dogs are not anthropomorphized, but their expressions are haunting. Pair this first-rate historical adventure with Natalie Standiford's The Bravest Dog Ever: The True Story of Balto (Random, 1989) or with Blake's Akiak: A Tale from the Iditarod (Philomel, 1997).-Susan Oliver, Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library System, FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.