Finder: Coal Mine Dog
Written by Alison Hart
Illustrated by Michael G. Montgomery
Trapped by fire in an underground mine would be frightening beyond imagination. Yet it happened, not only to full grown men, but to boys as young as seven or eleven. Thomas and his uncle lied about his age to get him a “good paying” job in the mines in order to pay off his father’s debts.
Alison Hart has written an exciting, fast-paced story based in serious research. Her study of the Cherry Mine disaster in 1909, led her to imagine a boy and his dog helping with the rescue. Thomas and Finder are so real, readers will be cheering for them from page one on. It is a wonderful story that brings to light a particular way of life experienced by many of our ancestors.
The story is written from the standpoint of the dog. While it is not the usual viewpoint, it is easily recognized and accepted. Realistic sketches illustrate the story throughout, helping readers further immerse themselves in the story. Maps of the mine at the beginning of the book give readers an additional way to track the progress of the miners.
Teachers will fulfill the core curriculum standards in many subset areas of literacy and American history. In the end matter, the author clearly separates fictional material from real history. Librarians and parents can introduce the book by reading aloud beginning chapters to help encourage reluctant readers. Grade three, grade four and grade five readers will enjoy this volume and may want to continue reading this series, Dog Chronicles, to learn more about our history.
- Title: Finder: Coal Mine Dog
- Author: Alison Hart
- Illustrator: Michael G. Montgomery
- Publisher: Peachtree Publishers, 2015
- Reviewer: Elizabeth Swartz
- Format: Hardcover, 176 pages
- ISBN: 978-1-5645-860-8
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Grade level: 3 to 6
- Extras: Mine maps, diagrams, extensive author notes, bibliography, related websites