April 30th 2013 by Groundwood Books
Kelsang is an enormous Tibetan mastiff puppy who is born to a shepherding family. His mother is killed early on, and his master is tricked into selling him to an unscrupulous buyer, He gets taken to Lhasa, where he escapes and runs wild in the city. An elderly artist lets him stay in his courtyard and brings the dog food when he comes home, but the two mainly ignore each other. Since mastiffs arevery valuable, other men take him and keep him locked up, which is horrible, since mastiffs like to run. Eventually, he is found by Han Ma, who is a volunteer working to save antelopes, and Kelsang proves to be a great asset in many ways. When Han Ma has to go back to work at a school for disabled children, Kelsang stays with a friend of Han Ma's, and has various adventures guarding a store. When Han Ma and Kelsang are finally able to be together, the two are very glad, and Kelsang is able to roam the mountains, get his exercise, and love his human.
Strengths: This is a great book for #WeNeedDiverseBooks since it was translated (very beautifully) from the Chinese. It is a must read with Secret of the Mountain Dog by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel, since both have Tibetan mastiffs! Readers who like classic animal tales, like Jim Kjelgaard's books or Farley's The Black Stallion series will adore this.
Weaknesses: US readers might struggle to make sense of the setting at first, since they won't have prior knowledge of this area of the world.
I'm just glad that I don't have a Tibetan mastiff! What an enormous dog! It probably sheds the equivalent of my Yorkie Poo every single day!