Monday, April 11, 2011

Night of the Howling Dogs by Graham Salisbury

Book Jacket

Dylan's Scout troop goes camping in Halape, a remote spot below the volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii.  The only thing wrong with the weekend on a beautiful , peaceful beach, is the presence of Louie, a tough older boy.  Louie and Dylan have corssed paths before and they just can't get along.

That night an earthquake rocks the camp, generating a giant wave that rushes in, sweeping away everyone and everything in its path.  Dylan and Louis must team up on a dangerous resuce mission.  The next hours are an amazing story of survival and the true meaning of leadership.  More amazing still is that this story actually happened!


I'm not one of those people whose dream vacation spot is Hawaii.  It all seems too picturesque to me.  Night of the Howling Dogs brings the reality of Hawaii into sharp focus, even before the earthquake literally shakes things up.  I really enjoyed reading about cultural differences and barriers between native Hawaiians and the white families who moved to the island.  Salisbury also does a remarkable job bringing the feel of Hawaii to life--the heat, the bugs, the look of the landscape.  He brought some Hawaiian folklore and legends into the story as well, which was fascinating.

Once this background has been established, the story's adventure begins.  A severe earthquake hits the Boy Scouts' remote campground, trapping some under rocks, and the ocean sweeps inland, nearly drowning our protagonist.  With Japan's recent natural disaster in mind, this book takes on deeper meaning.  Which I guess it shouldn't need, because it is based on a real event.  I cannot imagine surviving such a horrible disaster, let alone being responsible for finding and saving everyone else.  Yet that's just what Dylan does, setting aside his rivalry with Louie to do so.

Four out of five eyeglasses on fishwire.

Release Date:  August 2007
Reading Level:  Grade 3+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection: Not yet part of Dunlap's collection.

Don't believe me?  Check out these reviews of Night of the Howling Dogs:

Reading Review

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