It is the end of April, 1945 in a small village in eastern Germany. The front is coming closer and ten-year-old Fritz knows that the Soviet Army’s invasion of his family’s home can be only a few days away. Grandpa Karl, a Nazi sympathizer, takes Fritz into the forest that surrounds the family farm to show him a secret. Under a tall pine tree, Grandpa Karl has dug a pit and covered it with branches.The hole is to hide Fritz’s sister, mother, and grandmother when the Russians invade their village. Grandpa Karl is convinced that he and Fritz will defend to the death the Friedrich family.
But when the Russian soldiers arrive, Fritz, his sister, and his mother find themselves alone. They look to Lech, a Polish farmhand, for help, but new communist policies force them off their farm and into the role of refugees. Separated from his home and eventually his family, Fritz has to find his own way in a crumbling world. The Dog in the Wood tells a dramatic story of loss and survival in a changing Germany at the end of World War II.
Front Street ©2009, ISBN-13: 978-1-59078-7014, ages 11-14, grades 5-8.
- VOYA Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers
"...an exceptional debut novel... this poignant look at the effects of war and propaganda, especially on children, resonates with candor and eloquence." -Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2009
“The action in this important addition to WWII literature will grab readers, and Schröder’s story is an excellent, authentic portrait of children in war.” -Booklist, October 15, 2009
“Schröder’s well-crafted debut….is especially attuned to her protagonist’s internal conflicts and worries, and reveals alarming truths about the far-reaching effects of war.” -Publishers Weekly, November 16, 2009
“...a powerful, inspiring read.” -School Library Journal, January 2010