cover image D-39: A Robodog’s Journey

D-39: A Robodog’s Journey

Irene Latham. Charlesbridge, $17.99 (448p) ISBN 978-1-62354-181-1

Latham (This Poem Is a Nest) melds a dog rescue story with a post-apocalyptic journey in this white-default speculative narrative. Klynt Tovis, 12, lives with her father, Link, on a looganut farm in the Worselands, close to the border of the Wilds. War between the corrupt government of President Vex and the rebel Patriots rages across the country. Dogs have been eradicated as carriers of the deadly BrkX virus and replaced with robos—though those are rare, so Klynt is determined to keep a D-39 robo when it appears at the farm. Soon, D-39 has endeared itself to both Klynt and her neighbor, six-year-old Jopa Tannin. After a lengthy bombardment followed by the disappearance of Klynt’s father and Jopa’s mother and older sister, Klynt must lead Jopa and D-39 through the war-torn countryside and wilderness to Everlake, a dog refuge in the Wilds where her veterinarian mother lives. Latham invents numerous words (“sparkshine,” “quirkface,” “hotseason”), imbuing the tale with a whimsical flavor. The palpable isolation Klynt feels will resonate with many readers in the present moment, but any dog lover will appreciate this heartwarming tale of love and perseverance. Back matter includes a glossary of Latham’s invented lexicon. Ages 10–up. [em](May) [/em]