Thursday, March 9, 2017

Stone Fox


For some reason, I have not been able to add photos to posts in blogger. Very annoying. Somehow it adds the photos to my google album for this blog, but not to the blog post. So I just copy and pasted. Hence the less than stellar quality. 

This book actually happens in February, which is when I planned on putting this up. However, life is busy and I didn't get around to it. And now that the Iditarod is in full swing, it seems an even better time to do a dog sledding race book. 

The Iditarod--I LOVE the Iditarod. Even before I lived in Alaska and got caught up in all the excitement, it fascinated me. It is so elemental, you know? Man vs. Nature. And then the dogs. I don't consider myself to be a dog fanatic, but this week, as I tried to read Balto and Akiak to the first grade class I kept getting choked up. They were so brave and loyal!

My sister volunteers for the Iditarod, so we get lots of pictures and updates from her. This year she is in Manley Hot Springs checkpoint (which is 32 below zero right now--the propane has frozen up and the heaters won't work...) and then she will fly into Nome to be there to help manage the finish.

For those of you like me who nerd out on the Iditarod--
The official Iditarod website, so you can check on mushers progress and standings.
And this is Jeff Schultz, the official Iditarod photographer's website

I read Stone Fox to my kids and we all loved this book. Well as much as you can love a book with this kind of ending. (Spoiler right there!) There is absolutely no way I am ever attempting to read this book in school. I would be too weepy. Sobby-weepy. IT IS SO AWESOME. 

Little Willie's grandfather falls into a decline for no reason. He just doesn't want to adult anymore. So he doesn't. He just lays in bed. 

Little Willie takes to adulting for him at ten years old. He knows he has to keep the farm goingplants the fields, using his loyal dog Searchlight as the plow horse. 

He takes care of his grandfather as well. 

Little Willie is pretty fabulous. 

Despite the townsfolks who wanted him to sell the farm and move them both into town, Little Willie is determined to stay put on the farm his grandfather loves. 

Finally, Little Willie finds out why his grandfather has given up--the taxes on the farm are overdue. Little Willie goes to the bank to ask for a loan, but the banker tells him that it wouldn't make sense--just sell the farm and live off the proceeds.

But Little Willie is convinced that if his grandfather is going to get better, it can only happen on the farm. So he has to stay there. As he is heading home from the banker, he sees a sign for the National dogsled race--the prize is the $500 he needs to pay the back taxes. 

Since Willie and Searchlight have run the course almost every day on the way to school, he feels pretty confident. So confident he bets his college fund for the entrance fee.

The only thing standing between him and success is the native Stone Fox. With his magnificent Samoyeds, Stone Fox has never lost a race.

But the entire town of Jackson, Wyoming is cheering for Little Willie.


Searchlight and Willie have a great run--leading Stone Fox. As he passes his farm, he sees his grandfather out of bed for the first time in months to watch him race by. This spurs him on. And then, just as they are re-entering town for the finish line, things happen.

OH MY WORD. It is so hard to not say what happens. I am terrible at this book reviewing thing.

This ending is so magnificent. So incredible. The enormity of the human spirit, the dignity of compassion, the kindness of strangers--I am tearing up again just talking about it.
Seriously, so amazing.

If you haven't read it, do it now.

I am off to check Iditarod placings again.  

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