Sunday, September 10, 2017
"Finding Gobi: The True Story of One Little Dog's Big Journey" by Dion Leonard
I'd really enjoyed the children's book Gobi: A Little Dog With a Big Heart by Dion Leonard, illustrated by Lisa Manuzak, so I was excited to read the young readers version, Finding Gobi: The True Story of One Little Dog's Big Journey.
Both books tell the story of an ultra-marathon runner, Dion, meeting a little dog named Gobi during a race. Together they run many miles and become very close. It's a touching story and Leonard makes it even more so by occasionally telling the story from Gobi's perspective.
The children's picture book focused on meeting Gobi and running the race together, with only brief mention of the difficulties Leonard would have getting Gobi adopted and back to his home country in a one-page author's note at the end. In contrast, the young readers version finishes the race by page 65 of 190 pages. After reading the children's book I expected the race to also be the focal point of this book, and was disappointed. Reading about the race and how Gobi was able to participate in different stages was highly entertaining.
However, most of this book is about Gobi being lost in big city, potential extortion, and logistics of transporting a pet across various countries. Not to say that it was all uninteresting, but 125 pages of it was just too much. The hints of potential sinister dealings and the idea that someone could have stolen Gobi to extort money was dark for a young readers book. I'm guessing there was more evidence of this than presented, but it still felt out of place both because it was an unproven theory and because it could be really scary for young readers.
I would have enjoyed reading much more about the race, and much less about the getting Gobi home part. As it is though, I'd still highly recommend Gobi: A Little Dog With a Big Heart for children, but I wouldn't want to recommend Finding Gobi: The True Story of One Little Dog's Big Journey for young readers. As an adult reader, it was decent, but without more race details I would have to pass on this one.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher but was not required to post a positive review.