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Hachiko: The True Story of a Loyal Dog

by Pamela S. Turner
Illustrated by Yan Nascimbene

Published by Houghton Mifflin, 2004
32 pages

Ages 5 - 9

The bronze statue "Loyal Dog Hachiko" in Shibuya Station in Tokyo is the inspiration for this story by Pamela S. Turner. The real Hachiko belonged to Dr. Ueno, a university professor in Tokyo. Late each day the young dog waited at the train station for his master's return. One day Dr. Ueno did not get off the train-he had died unexpectedly at work. For ten years, Hachiko continued to return to the station each day. His story was told in newspapers and he became a favorite of all who saw him. Even before Hachiko died in 1935, a statue of him had been erected at the station. A replica of the original statue stands at the station today - a favorite meeting spot in Tokyo. Turner has created a fictional narrator to tell Hachiko's story and fill in several events between the death of the man and the death of his companion. A young boy when he first meets the dog at the station, Kentaro is a teenager by the time Hachiko passes away. This spare, stirring first-person narrative draws its strength from Turner's lack of embellishment, as well as her intuitive understanding of a how a child - and later young adult - might respond to the sometimes sad, always extraordinary facts of the story. After Hachiko dies, Kentaro says, "I was seventeen, and too big to cry. But I went into the other room and did not come out for a long time." Yan Nascimbene's watercolor illustrations perfectly match the loveliness and restraint of the text. (MS) 2004 Cooperative Children's Book Center

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