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The Dogs of Winter

4.23  ·  Rating Details  ·  674 Ratings  ·  164 Reviews
A small boy, a cruel city, and the incredible dogs who save him.

Based on a true story!

When Ivan's mother disappears, he's abandoned on the streets of Moscow, with little chance to make it through the harsh winter. But help comes in an unexpected form: Ivan is adopted by a pack of dogs, and the dogs quickly become more than just his street companions: They become his family
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 1st 2012 by Arthur A. Levine Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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Dec 12, 2014 Jesus.bahena rated it it was amazing
It was a outstanding story, in my opinion. The story was about a little boy named Ivan tying to face the streets of Russia after he try's to run from the lady from the orphanage. He faces so many challanges during his small age. I am hoping to see a series of the book. This story is a nice story to read it has adventure, action, sadness, and courage.
Feb 03, 2014 MissStan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very emotional read, particularly for animal lovers. I found I had to read this in short bursts as I was constantly on edge worrying about what would happen to the dogs (and the boy). It is based on a true story set in Moscow in the 90s, and is a sad description of life for abandoned children at that time. I loved the dog characters and really connected with them. The ending is disappointing. I guess I wanted a happy ending after all the sadness, but we are not told how things ended for the do ...more
Apr 24, 2015 NebraskaIcebergs rated it liked it
Based on a true story, Dogs of Winter by Bobbie Pyron tells of five-year-old Ivan, a street kid in Russia who formed a close relationship with a pack of feral dogs. While this young adult novel is well-written and full of enough adventure to appeal to even the most reluctant reader, at about the halfway point, the heart-breaking events portrayed also became too much for me to bear. Dogs of Winter is a book I both love and hate.

The symbiotic relationship between Ivan and the dogs is touching and
Mary (BookHounds)

Ivan's mother has disappeared and her boyfriend is taking him to an orphanage when he escapes rather than be thrown into such a desolate place. As a five year old boy, he is among many of Russia's children that have fallen through the cracks where social safety nets are no longer existent because of the downfall of communism. With no systems or limited funds in place, these children form gangs and substitute families where abuse runs rampant between the older and yo
Mar 05, 2013 Susan rated it really liked it
Once again, I'm struck by the power of a book that won't sit on the shelves in Fiction, but will take pride of place in the Young Adult section of the library.

I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed The Dogs of Winter. Actually, enjoyed is maybe not the best word. I was riveted, saddened, choked up with fear and sympathy for five year old Ivan and his dogs; rooting for him and horrified at the idea that this is based on a true story. Living on the streets and in the subway tunnels of an unnamed and
Jack Swanson
Mar 19, 2013 Jack Swanson rated it really liked it
I've been in the cold before, but author Bobby Pyron showed me that I had never been in the cold of Russia, like Mishka in The Dogs of Winter. This book starts out when Mishka is only five years old and progresses from there, as he grows older he learns new ways to survive as he lives on the streets. Mishka used to live a very normal life, with his grandmother and mother, however it is all turned upside down when eventually his babushka, or grandmother dies. His mother has no one to talk to, and ...more
jv poore
Sep 06, 2013 jv poore rated it it was amazing
In 1996 I was living in West Virginia. I had been out of college for one year. Despite having graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration, I could not find a job that paid more than minimum wage. Things seemed bleak; I felt desperate, alone and afraid. I felt that life was tough and unfair. I had no clue.

At the same time, in Moscow, four year old Ivan Mishukov walked out of his flat to escape the daily horrors bestowed upon him by his mother and her alcoholic boyfriend. Life on the streets
Dec 14, 2012 Lisa rated it it was amazing
When 5-year-old Mishka’s Babushka Ina dies and his mother is suddenly gone, the bad man takes him to The City. Mishka runs away and joins a gang of street kids who sleep in the train stations, steal and beg. As winter approaches, the gangs become more violent, as do the police who try to rid the underground of the homeless children. Mishka befriends a dog, Lucky, and his pack who let the small boy share their food and keep him warm. Soon, he is known as Dog Boy. These wild dogs protect him and h ...more
Stephanie A.
I spent pretty much this whole book on the verge of crying my eyes out over how much I wanted to scoop up and mother this poor homeless child (and not just because he would come with 7 wonderful dogs), which is not a feeling I have ever had before in my life. The only thing that staved it off was how loving and protective the dogs with whom he formed a symbiotic relationship for warmth, food, affection and protection were. But that had me on the verge of crying most of the time too, because a ho ...more
Diane Folz
Apr 22, 2014 Diane Folz rated it liked it
Wonderful but heartbreaking book based on the true story of a five year old boy who, after the fall of the Soviet Union, chooses to live with a pack of wild dogs in order to survive. Not much is actually known about how the faithful, protective dogs managed to care for the child or why they were willing to do it, but the author does a good job putting the puzzle pieces together. It breaks my heart that children are forced into such dire situations but it is a great story of what humans are willi ...more
Feb 03, 2016 Joanne rated it really liked it
Ivan’s mother disappeared suddenly, leaving him with her boyfriend who wants rid of him. At five years old, he finds himself abandoned and invisible in a city in Russia, teaming with other abandoned street children. They beg and steal to eat and escape reality, and then winter comes. The children are pushed away from the shelter of the train station, beaten and harassed by gangs and patrolmen, and left freezing in the harsh, winter conditions.
Ivan soon realizes that not even the other street c
Stella Bond
Dec 10, 2015 Stella Bond rated it did not like it
Hannah Loves
Jun 12, 2015 Hannah Loves rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
American Mensa
Dec 16, 2014 American Mensa rated it really liked it
Shelves: chapter-books
If you like historical fiction and dogs, this book is for you.

The book is historical fiction, telling the story of an orphaned Russian boy who lives with a pack of dogs. After his mother is killed, her boyfriend throws him out to the streets. A group of orphans take him in, and he gets a dog to beg with. He leaves them and discovers his dog’s, named Lucky, family. You might like this if you like historical fiction books, or dogs. My favorite parts were the ending and the time within the forest,
Edgar Rodriguez
Apr 16, 2014 Edgar Rodriguez rated it it was amazing
I have always thought of my life to be very low and poor, but just looking at the way Mishka lived in the cold winters of Russia changed everything. The book starts with the story of Mishka, his grandmother, and his mother, surviving life in the poor conditions of their home. They have only little money, and are having to face hardship daily. When things go from bad to worse, Mishka finds himself stranded on the streets, alone. This 5 year old boy goes on a journey for his life, finding new frie ...more
Feb 08, 2014 myluckyself rated it it was amazing
It's books like these that always make me look back on my own life and think about what I've accomplished so far (or not accomplished, really). The world is so huge and filled with so many stories (cue SBS's 'six billion stories and counting'), many of them bad or horrific that I can only imagine just how lucky I am to live in my current "world" with access to everything I could possibly want, or need. And yet there is a certain emptiness I feel when I think about how my own experiences pale unb ...more
Jun 17, 2013 Helen rated it really liked it
Shelves: waw-options
I hope this makes the WAW nomination but we'll have to be careful with younger readers since it has references to drugs and prostitution. Again, like with Breaking Stalin's Nose, I haven't read much historical fiction about Russia, so I enjoyed learning about it. In this story a boy's mother dies and her boyfriend abandons him so he starts living on the streets and begging. He ends up living with a pack of dogs who love and accept him more than any of the people he meets. This is a yes vote for ...more
Feb 25, 2015 Sally rated it really liked it
I love the idea of living with a pack of dogs, although on the streets of Russia would definitely NOT be my choice! For young Ivan though, this is less of a choice and more of a necessity. He finds himself alone and struggling for survival in the harsh climate of a tough city at a time of nationwide poverty and starvation. Everyone agrees that children shouldn't be living on the streets, but the alternatives are undesirable too and Ivan becomes one of the millions of homeless fighting for surviv ...more
Jan 29, 2016 Courtenay rated it it was amazing
Words can't do justice in a review of this book. I smiled, I cried, my heart sang and wept along with Wild Child's as he suffered unthinkable horror in Russia in the 90's when he lost his mother and was left to fend for himself in the streets. I couldn't put this story down, though it took me three library borrows to finally open it and start reading. Bobbie Pyron does a masterful job weaving a story of transition from respectable young 5-year-old to feral, protective dog pack leader and back ag ...more
Jul 23, 2013 Amy rated it really liked it
Shelves: children, tween-novel
Actually very wrenching read. My 12 year old son cried at the end and I actually only read the first half (shhhh, don't tell him, he'll kill me) because I have too much to read for award group and work right now. What I did read was beautiful and so very sad.
This novel works for both boys and girls. Targets readers who enjoy dog stories, adventure, other cultures and character heavy novels.
Charlie Moses
Jun 03, 2015 Charlie Moses rated it it was amazing
I picked this book up at my local library on a whim, and whatever I may have expected from reading the synopsis inside the cover proved to be a pale shadow of what the book delivers. It is probably marketed as a young adult or even a juvenile novel, as the main character is between 5 and 7 for almost the whole of the story, but it isn't a childish story. This is a story for adult sensibilities, yet the author succeeds in telling a story from a 5-year-old's viewpoint without being precious or mak ...more
My book is 'The Dogs of Winter' by Bobbie Pyron. It is a book based on a boy who lost his babushka ina (grandma) and his mother, these were the only people he lived with, after they were gone, he began to live on the streets with a gang of children. Soon he found this dog and the dog brought him to his pack, he soon became a 'member' of their pack. They lived together for a long time, he found them food and shelter, and in return the dogs protected him. I recommend this book for kids 10+ who are ...more
Mrs. Hassig
Jan 23, 2016 Mrs. Hassig rated it it was amazing
This book is very well written but not for everybody. Why you ask? Because it is so depressing. It's weird how the whole world, including myself, thought that the Wall coming down in 1989 was the greatest thing ever. What we all failed to realize is that the safety net that was communism disappeared and what replaced it was - NOTHING! And who suffers most - the weakest - the children - the old and disabled and last but not least - animals! If you love children and dogs you may want to read this ...more
Anna  Schneider
May 22, 2015 Anna Schneider rated it it was amazing
I loved this book but it broke my heart
Oct 27, 2014 Aedan rated it it was amazing
After reading 185 pages of The Dogs Of Winter by Bobbie Pyron, I
chose to to read it for my second book report. I chose to read it for my book report
because I thought it was a wonderful book that is filled with adventures and many suspenseful parts. Another reason I chose to
read this book was because the book can be filled with parts that make you sad or happy. Lastly, thought this book was amazing because of all the stories and plots. Because of these reasons, I
rated the book 5 stars. Howeve
Jan 24, 2016 Taylor rated it it was amazing
This book was one of my favorites. Its based on a true story. This book was about this boy named Ivan he's only five years old when his grandmother died and he lost his mother. All the police men wanted to send him to a orphanage but before they could ever he runs away. He faces the streets alone but when winter came along that is when it got worst for Ivan. There where no food stands to get food and not a lot of people to beg money off of. He met some nice people but he mostly met mean people. ...more
Mar 30, 2015 Shimmywith4 rated it liked it
Shelves: own-it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Taryn Pierson
Dec 04, 2014 Taryn Pierson rated it liked it
Growing up in Russia, five-year-old Ivan has always had the comfort of his mother and his Babushka Ina. But things begin to change for him after his babushka dies. His mother starts drinking more, going out at night and leaving him alone with his storybooks. Then she brings a man home, a man Ivan wishes would just go away. But he doesn't—and one day Ivan's mother disappears. All Ivan can find of her is a single black button from her beloved red coat.

With his mother gone and nowhere else to go,
Feb 13, 2013 Brenda rated it it was amazing
I was looking for realistic fiction. I was looking for a book that was serious and that had a male main character. I came across Dogs of Winter, with a note on the cover saying, “based on a true story.” I thought I’d give it a try. Wow! I’m glad I did. The more I read the more I wondered. What is happening right now around me that I am not aware of? What can I do to help? How many starving children are there lurking in the background hoping to remain invisible, desperate to survive?

This is the s
Ms. Yingling
Jun 06, 2012 Ms. Yingling rated it it was amazing
When five-year-old Ivan's beloved babushka (grandmother) dies, his single mother lapses into depression and ends up with an abusive boyfriend. Eventually, the mother disappears, and the boyfriend takes Ivan (whose mother called him Mishka) to the city, where he attempts to hand him over to an orphanage. Mishka feels that if he stays there, he will not not be able to find his mother, so he lives instead on the streets. The other children are mean because he is so small, although for a while he fa ...more
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