Tundra: Arctic Sled Dog


Book: Tundra: Arctic Sled Dog

Author: Roy Simpson Marsh

Illustrator: Charles Geer

Publisher: Macrae Smith Company, 1968


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 12-18

Rating: ***** 5 stars

(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)

Category: Adventure

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

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     Marsh, Roy SimpsonTundra: Arctic Sled Dog (Published in 1968 by Macrae Smith Company, Philadelphia, PA).  Eighteen year old Bill Hanson, a native Alaskan, had been an orphan since age four when his parents’ small plane crashed in a raging blizzard near Mount McKinley.  He was reared in an orphanage at his hometown of Fairbanks until he was sixteen, when he got his first paying job as a deckhand on the Northern Lights, a Yukon River boat captained by Big Jim. Then he and fellow crewman Jock Montee, eight years older than Bill, decide to buy the trading post at Fort Yukon in the wilderness north of Fairbanks from old Tim Frazer.  One day a stray dog wanders into Bill and Jock’s new trading post.  Bill adopts the Malamute-Saint Bernard mixed pup and names it Tundra.

     When the partners hear about gold from a passing Indian, they decide that Jock will go prospecting while Bill stays to tend the store. Later Bill joins him, but the prospect of $10,000 worth of gold dust and nuggets induces Jock to abscond with the loot and, worse than that, with Tundra.  So Bill pursues them through a grizzly encounter, blizzards, and an avalanche.  Can Bill catch up with his former friend?  Will he ever see his beloved dog again?  Does he even survive the ordeal?  There are a few common euphemisms (danged, gosh, heck), but this is a great book for teenaged boys who like rousing adventure stories.  Plus the descriptions of the Alaskan tundra and the Eskimos in the novel are true in every detail.

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