written by Candace Fleming
illustrated by Eric Rohmann
About the book
For fans of Balto and other real-life dog stories, here's a heavily illustrated middle-grade novel about a canine movie star of the 1920s, dramatically told in both words and pictures by an acclaimed author and a Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator.
When movie director Larry Trimble travels to Berlin searching for his next big star—a dog!—he finds Etzel, a fierce, highly trained three-year-old German shepherd police dog. Larry sees past the snarls and growls and brings Etzel back to Hollywood, where he is renamed Strongheart. Along with screenwriter Jane Murfin, Larry grooms his protégé to be a star of the silver screen—and he succeeds, starting with Strongheart's first film, The Love Master, which is released in 1921. Strongheart is soon joined by a leading lady, a German shepherd named Lady Julie, and becomes a sensation.
But when Strongheart is accused of attacking a girl, he must prove his innocence—and it will take his best acting skills to do so.
Touching, charming, playful, and based on real events, this moving tale by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Eric Rohmann tells all about "the wonder dog" who took America by storm.
Read the Reviews
“This wonderfully charming illustrated middle-grade novel will find fans of all ages. Strongheart tells the entirely winning and wonder-filled tale of Etzel the German Shepherd. Born on a farm between the city and the Bavarian Alps, Etzel thinks he is destined to become a police dog, fighting criminals on the streets of Berlin. But when a Hollywood director meets the shepherd, Etzel is recognized for what he truly is … a star! Etzel enters a life in “the pictures,” starring in silent movies under the name of Strongheart. Red carpets and fame follow, and Strongheart soon sees his name in lights. But when he is wrongly accused of a horrible crime, the pup must use his acting chops to get out of trouble. Fans of Hollywood and the silver screen will love this historical-fiction story of a dog that became a 1920’s celebrity.”