HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Scout: Firefighter
Author: Jennifer Li Shotz
Cover Designer: Rick Farley
Publisher: HarperCollins, 2018
Related website(s): http://www.harpercollinschildrens.com (publisher)
Language level: 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 8 – 12
Rating: ***** 5 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Shotz, Jennifer Li. Scout: Firefighter (Published in 2018 by HarperCollins Children’s Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, 195 Broadway, New York City, NY 10007). Twelve year old Matt Tackett lives with his dad, who is a first sergeant on a long deployment in Afghanistan, his mom, who is a colonel in the National Guard, his older sister Bridget, and their brown and white dog Scout, which is now a member of the National Guard K-9 unit of Nevada. Being in the military, the family has moved around a lot, and Matt has lived in nine different states, but they recently arrived in Silver City, NV, where Colonel Tackett is the base commander, and Matt hopes that they stay there because he has made what he thinks are three good friends—Dev, Amaiya, and Curtis. One weekend, the three friends plan an overnight climbing hike up Mt. Kit. They invite Matt, but he can’t go because his father has just returned home.
However, Dev asks Matt not to tell anyone about the trip because the kids aren’t supposed to be on that mountain alone. Matt doubts the wisdom of this but reluctantly agrees. The next day, a dangerous wildfire breaks out in the mountains. Matt wrestles with his conscience about what to do but finally tells his dad, and the two of them take Scout and head out to rescue the friends, while Matt wonders what they will think of him and if they will still want to be his friends when they find out that he told. Can they locate the three youngsters before time runs out? Or do they all get trapped by the raging fire? And what happens to Scout when the dog gets injured? Scout: Firefighter is book 2 in the “Scout Series.” In book 1, Scout: National Hero, Scout saved Matt, Bridget, Dev, and some others when a dam broke and flooded the town.
As to language, Dev says, “That sucks!”, Matt’s dad tells his daughter to “Kick some…butt,” and Matt asks about his friends possibly being “pi**ed” at him for telling and uses the term “God” as an exclamation when he finally sees his friends. Otherwise, this is a fast-moving tale that will grab even reluctant readers and is perfect for fans of exciting dog stories. Author Jennifer Li Shotz has also written the #1 New York Times bestseller Max: Best Friend. Hero. Marine., about the coolest war dog ever, and also the “Hero” series. How many books about dogs named Scout have I read and reviewed? Let me count them. One—Raising a Dog Named Scout by Jill Abramson; two—Scout by Julie Nye; and three—Scout: The Secret of the Swamp by Piet Prins. Apparently, there is now a third book in Jennifer Li Shotz’s “Scout Series” entitled Scout: Storm Dog.