The frightened boy's father sends out a cry for help. He whistles. Will anyone hear? The ears of a cattle dog, a heeler, perk up. He follows the sound until the family is found. They are shivering in a mound of snow. First, the dog offers his warmth. The family snuggles against his fur. And then, just as the dog has appeared seemingly out of nowhere, he jumps up and disappears into the white.
"The dog's warmth lingered, but it was like a held breath...soon to expire. As nightfall approached, the family knew temperatures would plummet. They shared the quiet, in lieu of hope."
What the family does not know is that the dog has gone to get the farmer, his handler, for help. The farmer, though, does not understand the meaning of the dog's alarming barks. The cattle seem all right. The farmer does not follow the dog.
So this dog, this brave, smart dog, with yips, nips and barks, rouses the cows from their rest, and sends the herd out over the snow and straight to the family. Now the family has a chance! They can follow the packed snow and find safety at the farmer’s home. Will they have the strength to follow the dog? Will they survive this night? You’ll have to read this short and lovely middle-grade tale to find out.
The illustrations are beautifully painted and match the mood and tone of the story. They vividly portray the immediacy of the storm. You can practically feel the cold as night moves on. And I am sure, like me, all readers of this book will come to adore the hero of this tale--a non-assuming cattle dog that ends his night of heroism with his usual slumber in a barn full with cows.
The Tale of Rescue: Text copyright © 2015 by Michael J. Rosen. Illustrations © 2015 by Stan Fellows. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.