Strongheart: Wonder Dog of the Silver Screen

by Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann

A captivating easy novel, based on a true story, is set during the silent film era.... read more

A captivating easy novel, based on a true story, is set during the silent film era. In search of the next big star, director Larry Trimble has an idea: A dog. He isn’t interested in an animal that can just do tricks; he wants a heroic star. But finding one proves a challenge. Enter Etzel. Trained as a vicious police dog in Germany, Etzel is clearly smart, but Larry has his work cut out after purchasing him. While screenwriter Jane Murfin works on scripts, Etzel, now renamed Strongheart, gradually learns to trust. But when it comes to acting, he proves to be a natural, with a lot of big screen charisma. With the release of his first movie, Strongheart is an overnight sensation. In the 1920s, he was the It Dog. He had public appearances, magazine spreads, product endorsements, and even his own Hollywood scandal. He is also responsible for making German shepherds the most popular dog breed in the United States. Sadly, only one of his films survives, but Fleming has done meticulous research to piece together his amazing story. Rohmann’s detailed black-and-white line drawings throughout are wonderfully cinematic, giving a sense of the black-and-white silent era and Strongheart’s charisma. (Ages 7–11)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2019

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