Rescue on the Oregon Trail (Ranger in Time #1), by Kate Messner and Kelly McMorris

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Check out the pooch on the cover of Rescue on the Oregon Trail (2015, 144 pages, Lexile Measure 690) trying to win a staring contest with you. Too cute. This is one of those books with a central idea so dandy it’s hard to believe it has not been used a lot. I’m speaking of time traveling dogs, people. There are a few series with time travelling cats, but until this series, I hadn’t come across a time traveling dog. Here is the summary from Goodreads:

Ranger has been trained as a search-and-rescue dog, but can’t officially pass the test because he’s always getting distracted by squirrels during exercises. One day, he finds a mysterious first aid kit in the garden and is transported to the year 1850, where he meets a young boy named Sam Abbott. Sam’s family is migrating west on the Oregon Trail, and soon after Ranger arrives he helps the boy save his little sister. Ranger thinks his job is done, but the Oregon Trail can be dangerous, and the Abbotts need Ranger’s help more than they realize!

I put off writing this review because I misplaced my copy of the book. So I don’t remember all the particulars. (Usually when something goes missing in my house I can blame the children, but I’m afraid this one is on me.) In a nutshell then, this is basically historical fiction for the younger middle grade set. I liked everything about it. The dog is endearing and the author gives us just enough insight into the dog’s point of view to make it fun. I appreciated that although Ranger was whisked into the past and bonded with the family he met there, he continued to miss his original family. My nine-year-old might have worried were this not the case. The rescue was tense but not terrifying. So there you have it. :) Honestly, I thought this book was fantastic, and one that even my reluctant-reader-but-canine-loving boy might enjoy. I am going to pre-order Danger in Rome (Ranger in Time #2) which will be released on June 30th. If you are a teacher or homeschooler, you may be interested in this Ranger in Time Classroom Guide. For many middle grade book reviews, follow the MMGM links on the blog of the fabulous Shannon Messenger.

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