Book review: 'Dogs of Winter' is a moving story on what makes us human

Published: Saturday, Sept. 29 2012 2:00 p.m. MDT

"THE DOGS OF WINTER," by Bobbie Pyron, Arthur A. Levine Books, $16.99, 320 pages (f) (ages 10-14)

Ivan Mishukov ended up on the streets of Russia at the age of 4 in 1996. Stories vary on whether he was abandoned or ran away from an abusive home. Years later, he was found living with a pack of wild dogs as if he, too, were a dog. He helped provide food to the dogs, and in return, the dogs protected him from the dangers and cruelty of the harsh Russian winters and people.

Utah author Bobbie Pyron takes this true story and tells it from little Ivan's point of view — taking readers into the cold, cruel street life of homeless Russian children.

The "Dogs of Winter" is a heartbreaking story of how young Ivan finds trust and love with a pack of dogs that he could not find among humans — humans who betrayed and physically hurt him, who offered very little kindness and who passed him as if he were invisible.

Together with the dogs, Ivan learns how to survive, although the survival does not come easy or without heartbreaks and frustrations.

"Dogs of Winter" is a sobering story, and although it is filled with love and loyalty, it doesn't come with many easy breaks for Ivan.

The novel inspires kindness to fellow human beings and animals and teaches perseverance, goodness and determination.

If you go ...

What: "The Dogs of Winter" launch party and Bobbie Pyron book signing

When: Saturday, Oct. 6, 2 p.m.

Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City

Web: kingsenglish.com

Hikari Loftus is a graduate of the University of Utah.

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