Cover image for Strongheart : the world's first movie star dog
Title:
Strongheart : the world's first movie star dog
Author:
McCully, Emily Arnold, author, illustrator.
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Henry Holt and Company, 2014.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 29 cm
Summary:
When silent movie director Larry Trimble decides to put Strongheart, a police dog, into his movies as the lead actor, he must first train him to play with toys and walk like a regular dog, but Strongheart becomes a sensation until his military training leads to trouble, and possibly the end of his career. Includes author's note on the real Strongheart.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780805094480
Format :
Book

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SF429.G37 M33 2014 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Summary

Summary

Strongheart may have been a movie star, but he wasn't always famous. He started out as a police dog who could sniff out criminals and march like a soldier, but he didn't know how to have fun. Larry Trimble was a Hollywood director who wanted to put Strongheart in his movies--not just as a pet but as the lead actor. Larry taught him to play with toys and walk like a regular dog. In his films, Strongheart brought audiences to tears. He was a sensation! But when Strongheart's military trainingled to trouble, was his career over?
Set in the early days of silent movies, Emily Arnold McCully's extraordinary story about a real-life hero will capture the hearts of dog lovers and movie fans everywhere.


Author Notes

Emily Arnold McCully was born in Galesburg, Illinois on July 1, 1939. She graduated from Pembroke College, now a part of Brown University, in 1961 and received an M.A. in art history from Columbia University.

After graduation, she held a variety of jobs in the art field that included being a commercial artist, a designer of paperback covers, and illustrating advertisements. When one of her illustrations was seen on an advertisement in the subway, she was asked to illustrate Greg Panetta's Sea Beach Express. She accepted that offer and went on to illustrate over 100 children's books. In 1969, she illustrated Meindert de Jong's Journey from the Peppermint Express, which was the first children's book to receive the National Book Award.

Her first solo venture, Picnic, won the Christopher Award in 1985. Mirette on the High Wire won the Caldecott Medal in 1993. Her other children's books include Amazing Felix, Crossing the New Bridge, Grandmas at the Lake, My Real Family, and The Pirate Queen.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Born in Germany in 1917 during WWI, Etzel von Oeringen was trained by the police, but he became a popular Hollywood movie actor. Etzel was a German shepherd, renamed Strongheart after being adopted by an American movie producer-dog trainer and his screenwriter wife. Strongheart's life in Germany had been all work, but once in the U.S., he learned to relax, play, and act. The canine's physical abilities and facial expressions helped make him a crowd-pleasing star of six silent films. The colorful illustrations, in pen, ink, and watercolor, consist of a few double-page spreads, but it's mainly the small vignettes that reveal Strongheart's work and home life, beginning with an image of the fat, fluffy, sweet-faced puppy. The dog's participation in films led to more canine cinema legends, including Rin Tin Tin and Lassie, and to a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Fans of dogs, movies, and dogs in movies will like this one.--Owen, Maryann Copyright 2014 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

As she did in Wonder Horse, McCully offers a concise, evocative account of a talented, real-life animal. Raised as a police dog in Germany ("He was bred to be alert, brave, strong, and perfectly loyal"), Etzel was brought to the U.S. in 1920, before the heydays of Rin Tin Tin or Lassie. He was adopted by Larry Trimble, a Hollywood movie director and animal trainer, and his screenwriter wife, who had been searching for the right dog to feature in a silent film. The couple taught the disciplined dog how "to learn to relax and have fun," gave him the screen name of Strongheart, and cast him as the lead in The Silent Call, the first movie to star a dog. McCully's watercolors (and the story in general) focus more on Strongheart's evolution into a dog who can enjoy playing (while still fiercely defending his turf) than on the filming of The Silent Call or Strongheart's later movies. An author's note offers backstory for this heartwarming tale, and film reel-style endpapers replicate a few of Strongheart's on-screen moments. Ages 4-8. Agent: Susan Cohen, Writers House. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 2-Chances are that some children of today may know who Lassie or Rin Tin Tin were, but it's likely that few, if any, have heard of Strongheart, the first movie star dog of Hollywood films. Born in Germany, Strongheart, originally named Etzel, was sent to the United States to be adopted after World War I, when his police dog skills were no longer needed. Larry Trimble, a movie director and animal trainer, discovered the German Shepherd in a New York kennel and realized that Etzel possessed incredible intelligence, a great work ethic, and the ability to discern threat from benevolence. The dog proved to be a director's dream: he could project appropriate emotions, follow commands, and conduct risky stunts. His screen name became Strongheart, and he gained a worldwide following. McCully's writing flows easily. Her rich watercolor with pen-and-ink illustrations depict "Roaring Twenties" fashions perfectly and convey Strongheart's range of emotions endearingly. Children will enjoy this sweet story, and dog lovers especially will find themselves revisiting this book time and again-and falling in love with this star, just as audiences did decades ago.- Maggie Chase, Boise State University, ID (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.