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The Dogs of Winter

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  484 ratings  ·  134 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,042)
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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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
Diane Folz
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
Young Mensans
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Alastair Smith
Usually, books about the horrors of "x" through a child's eyes annoy me (just look at "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas") but this book takes an honest and brutal look at taboo issues such as destitution, substance abuse and domestic violence in a way that doesn't feel cloying or condescending.

Nothing is sugar coated and descriptions are vivid and unique, giving a real insight to the street children of 90's Russia. Personally, I would have liked Ivan's relationship with Anya to be developed furthe
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
Taryn Pierson
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,
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
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
Stacy Ford
Ivan's mother is dead and he is abandoned on the streets of Moscow where he bonds with a pack of dogs, together they help each other survive.

Character: Ivan is five years old and ages all the way up to eight years old in the story. He carries the story as he survives the streets of Moscow through rough winters, unrelentless street gangs, nefarious adults who may or may not want what is best for Ivan. Ivan grows from a naive 5 year old to a untrusting, street wise 8 year old.

Setting: Post Communi
Keisha Keenleyside
dogs of winter is a historical fiction told from a boy named mishka.
His life starts out like many peoples, with his mother loving and caring telling him stories and teaching him, however after the death of his grandmother his mum falls into a state of depression turning to a vile man hereby named as Him.
One day miskas mother goes missing there is blood on the floor and He tries to take Mishka to an orphanage. However mishka escapes the mans grip and from there on lives on the streets of russia.

Bobbie Pyron has a gift for creating characters that live in my heart. She did it with A Dog's Way Home and she's done it with this one, The Dogs of Winter. Mishka won me over in the first few pages and my heart ached for the little boy's suffering and confusion. When his mother takes up with a 'bad' man who uses and abuses them both, Mishka (Little Bear) continues to believe in his mother's love and devotion even when he is forced to sleep in the pantry and goes hungry. But when his mother 'lea ...more
I am more and more fasinated by the genre of books that is fiction but is based on true accounts. It used to be we had fiction and non-fiction; however, this new species of book is some sort of hybrid version. It includes extensive research and biblioghrapy lists and is fact-based except for whatever in them classifies them as fiction. I would love more information on these types of books and how they are classified. These kinds of books include books like Queen of Water by Reseau, Never Fall Do ...more
Ruth Hill
When I began reading this book, I will be honest. Based on the picture, I kind of expected a Jack London type story. I soon realized just how wrong I was. How on earth was I to know that I would be reading historical fiction (recent history, but still history) that featured an amazing story that was emotional and realistic? In fact, the author's note at the end of the story, this story contains more truth than fiction. The book is written in first person, and I think this is a perfect story for ...more
ACS Book-finder
Based on a true story, "The Dogs of Winter" is targeted for 6th grade readers and older.

Ivan is a 5-year old boy who has been abandoned on the streets of Russia. He encounters gangs of children who have been abandoned and they try to draw him to work for them. These gangs often are cruel and mistreat each other, as well as Ivan. Eventually Ivan ends up on his own and discovers a pack of dogs who help take care of him. The dogs become his family and Ivan even begins to look and act like his fami
Kaylie Ashton
Our book this month was Dogs of Winter by Bobbie Pyron. We gave it 4 out of 5 stars. Overall we loved it! It was so different from many of the books most of us had read before. Each of us connected with it it a different way. The mums in the group found Mishka's story heart wrenching. The animal lovers found the pack fascinating.
We all loved that it was a fictional story based on true events. We found ourselves thinking about what we would have done in a similar situation, or how our kids would
Patricia Powell
“The Dogs of Winter” by Bobbie Pyron (Arthur A. Levine 2012) is based on a true story from 1990’s Russia. After the fall of the Soviet Union and its infrastructure was in shambles, gone were government-controlled health care, pension plans, and rent control. The poor were so poor they often couldn’t care for their children. The number of orphans and homeless on the streets were in the millions. Children formed packs as did the wandering dogs.
When winter approaches, Ivan's mother disappears from
Jun 26, 2013 Tina rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: kid-lit, newbery
I was spellbound by this book right from the start. The setting is 1990's Russia and based on a true story. After the loss of his mother, 5yr. old Ivan is brought to Moscow, by his mother's abusive boyfriend and left there to fend for himself. He is forced to lie and steal by a gang of homeless children in order to eat and survive. He soon notices the packs of dogs that roam the street and is adopted by one of them after he defends and befriends them. The pack becomes not only his friends, but h ...more
Alexa (Pages of Forbidden Love)
This review was originally posted at Pages of Forbidden Love

Near the end of last year I told myself that I wanted to start reading more middle grade books. I have kept my eyes open for the very best in the genre and when I was contacted about this book I jumped at the chance to read it. It sounded like a younger version of Between Shades of Grey. It is actually funny since the author of Between Shades of Grey has a blurb on the back of the book.

This story grabbed me from the beginning because I
Candace (Lovey Dovey Books)
Bobbie Pyron has taken a bit of history and turned it into a captivating tale of a little boy's survival. Never could I have imagined a child's bond with wild dogs as seen in The Dogs of Winter!

Ivan Andreovich is only five years old when his mother goes missing and her boyfriend tries to take Ivan to an orphanage. In the City, somewhere in Russia, Ivan decides to run away, hoping that his mother will come searching for him. He spends days and nights on the streets and train station, at first tak
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