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Strongheart: The World's First Movie Star Dog

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  222 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Strongheart may have been a movie star, but he wasn't always famous. He started out as a police dog who could sniff out criminals and march like a soldier, but he didn't know how to have fun. Larry Trimble was a Hollywood director who wanted to put Strongheart in his movies—not just as a pet but as the lead actor. Larry taught him to play with toys and walk like a regular ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published November 11th 2014 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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3.85  · 
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 ·  222 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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Kristine Hansen
I love picture books that teach something about the world we live in. This time the story is about a dog, who starred in movies a long time ago. Loved the look into the world of silent movies, though I have to wonder if this book is a little more for adults than kids. Still, it's a fascinating way to show them many things: about how animals are trained, about rescue pets, about how movies were made a long time ago, and about loyalty and devotion.

But picture books should first entertain, before
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Emily Arnold McCully short story Strong heart
Strong heart was born at first, but a month after he was born he joined the police dog school. At the same time, the former movie star died. The two producers began to look for new movie stars.
In the middle, he start to make a film the film is Caused a sensation and strongheart be famous and people like he. and the he make 3 films. In the last film he have a girl friend.
In the end Some people think he ate a little girl. So he went to prison, and on th
While brave and adorable dogs might seem to have always been a staple of the movie world, it wasn't always so. This picture book biography describes how an intelligent German shepherd who became known as Strongheart for obvious reasons was trained to work in silent films. The offspring of champion police dogs, Etzel (his original name) worked hard as a puppy. In fact, when Larry Trimble, a movie director and animal trainer, decided to adopt him, the first thing he taught the protective canine wa ...more
Strongheart aka Etzel is a former police dog used in Germany in World War 1, sent to America after the war and adopted by Animal Trainer and Film Director Larry Trimble, to use as the first dog movie star in Hollywood.
Larry brings Etzel around to remember how to play, but also Etzel learns and follows commands, does his own stunts and has great emotion.

Very cool story based off a real dog, and the first but not the last Silent Film Star who walked on 4 legs

Show Me Winner
Nov 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars.

Decent illustrations (watercolour, ink & pen on watercolour paper), and an interesting story.
It's about the life of Strongheart, a German Shepherd brought from Germany to the U.S. after WWI, and was adopted by a director who wanted to make a new type of film, with an animal as the star. It talks about how they trained him after they took him home, and the life he lived afterwards. There's also more information in the author's note at the back.
Aug 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Read for a group, enjoyed it quite a bit. The illustrations did a good job of portraying some of the culture of the setting of the early 1920s. And the author's note did cite references. Now, I'm not quite convinced that any dog could be quite that amazing... but I do accept that this German Shepherd was an amazing dog.
Katie Lawrence
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
A great look at Strongheart, one of the first dog film stars. I particularly enjoyed reading about how Larry Trimble trained Strongheart to play, as well as work. I'm looking forward to reading Candace Fleming's book on Strongheart as well.
Jul 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Historical Fiction based on the life of an ex-police dog from Berlin turned Hollywood actor in the 1920s. Exciting to read, incredible illustrations! Kids are going to love this book. Now I want to have a German Shepherd dog!!
Lindy MacLaine
Sep 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Fascinating... Who knew?
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
The kids will go nuts for this. I'm also reading the new Candace Fleming longer book about him and will probably recommend for RICBA.
May 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read this book since it was on the MO Show Me Readers Award list for 2016-17. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Not sure how much my students will relate to the topic of silent movies, but I like that it is based on a true story. I will probably have to explain what silent films are as well as what World War I was since most of our elementary students will not have this background knowledge since they do not study this part of history until Middle School or even ...more
Ro Menendez
Apr 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a fictional account based on the life of real-life canine actor Etzel von Oeringen, later know as dog movie star Strongheart. Readers will enjoy getting to know this dog who seemed so attuned with his owners, that he was even able to defend them from a dog-trainer posing as a journalist, out to steal the secrets of how to train dogs, by attacking him before any secrets were revealed! Dog lovers will especially delight in reading how fantastic Strongheart was as a dog and an actor. The il ...more
Olivia Rodgers
Apr 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
This story is about a German Sheppard who was trained to be a guard dog in Germany but once no longer needed he sent to dog pound in America. When he gets adopted his life will change forever as he becomes a movie star. I really enjoyed this book because it shows the loyalty of a dog and how they really are man’s best friend. I also enjoyed the picture that the illustrator used for this book. Some teaching ideas for this book are that it could be used to help show an example of a Newbery Medal w ...more
Dec 23, 2014 rated it liked it
The true story of Strongheart: The World's First Movie Star Dog tells how the first Movie star dog got selected. Raised in Germany as a police dog, he was shipped to the U.S. and placed in a kennel in NYC after World War I ended. A movie director looking for a dog for his movie, went to Strongheart's kennel and recognized how alert and well trained this dog appeared to be. His intuition proved correct and the rest is history. This is a very brief story that covers most of the lifespan of this re ...more
Lisa Lathrop
Jan 27, 2015 marked it as to-read
Shelves: children-s-lit
This is a primary and picture book selection for Jack. It's 40 pages, full of illustrations and not too heavy on the text, and rated for preschool to grade 3.

I chose this book for Jack to tap into his love of animals and movies. It is the story of the first motion picture dog. It also relates to one of his favorite movies "How To Train Your Dragon" in that Etzel requires training as an actor/stuntdog after his tour of duty as a police dog in the German military.

My statement to Jack: "Hey Jack.
This is a fictionalized account of the life of Strongheart, the first movie star dog. The author takes some liberties with his story (which she explains in the author's note) so this can't be considered true nonfiction. I was not a fan of this illustration style with the text--it seemed too cartoonish for the subject matter. I was also a little disappointed to read in the author's note that Strongheart died relatively young due to injuries sustained on the set of one of his movies. What on earth ...more
Nov 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Unbeknownst to me, stretching back to the era after World War I, another canine is responsible for the fame found by dogs on the silver and later the television screen. Based on factual research, this fictionalized account, Strongheart: The World's First Movie Star Dog (Henry Holt And Company, November 11, 2014) written and illustrated by Emily McCully, shines the spotlight on a little-known hero. With the assistance of his humans this dog became a household name.

My full recommendation: http://l
Jul 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Mankind's love affair with dogs has been around for a long time. Our love affair with the movies hasn't been around as long, but it's just as strong, the two were bound to meet sooner or later. Strongheart is the fictionalized story of the dog that brought the two together. Trained as a police dog, Strongheart didn't know how to play when Larry Trimble adopted him. This is an interesting story about the intelligence and heart that dogs can offer. A fun book that is bound to be enjoyed by dog and ...more
Jeff Harris
Jul 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
There are a LOT of true stories among this year's Show-Me Reader and GKCRead lists, and many focus on animals as the main characters, but what makes this story even more interesting is that Strongheart is a celebrity not just because of this book but because he was a silent film star -- and the first to be a canine! The illustrations are detailed and realistic, the book is very informative but still engaging for young readers, and the closing section of the book shares even more information abou ...more
Aug 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Who could resist a book about silent film history and a dog? This briefly tells the story of Strongheart (that's his screen name, anyway), the first dog to star in his own film. A nice bedtime tale for kids, but I'm not sure this is one that's so riveting they'll want to read again and again. That said, I suspect not too many adults know about Strongheart so there will be something for everyone here!
Dec 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
What I love about books is that it can introduce you to things you have never been exposed to. I have no idea who Strongheart was and now, I am a fan. A dog from Germany that after WWI came to the US and then became a silent picture star. Very interesting story. Check out the youtube video about this amazing pup!
Dec 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: juv-bio, reviewed
Before Rin Tin Tin, there was Etzel von Oeringen, a German Shepherd who was brave and strong and devoted. Strongheart, the canine celeb's screen name, tells this ruff-to-riches story. Author/illustrator Emily Arnold McCully weaves information on the early days of cinema into this tale of a dog.
Donna Nix
Jan 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Fictionalized account of the story of Strongheart, first movie star dog. While I liked the story, I wasn't as fond of the illustration style, which felt more modern than the time of the events (colors seemed too bright for example).
May 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Etzel, a German Shepherd, is adopted by the movie director, Larry Trimble, to star in silent films in the 1920s. A simple picture book with McCully's trademark illustrations that tells Etzel's story and how he participated in the early film industry.
Sharon Lawler
Dec 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
In the 1020s, Strongheart introduced America to the German Shepherd breed when he was selected to star in a movie. Interesting for dog and and movie lovers. Author's Note and Bibliography.
"Watercolor and pen and ink on watercolor paper were used to create the illustrations for this book."
Nov 12, 2014 rated it liked it
I liked this one a lot. Very different. A bit old-fashioned in illustration style but it fit the story.
Jan 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
A fun addition to the "dog hero" shelf. Young readers will enjoy learning how his trainer had to teach him to play.
May 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
a decent story but 'not really about the dog' according to my 8yo daughter; it was more about movie-making
Jul 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
The true story of the first dog to emerge as a film star. An author's note at the end fills in some of the missing details.
Edward Sullivan
Before Rin Tin Tin and Lassie, there was Strongheart.
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Emily Arnold McCully received the Caldecott Medal for Mirette on the High Wire. The illustrator of more than 40 books for young readers, she divides her time between Chatham, New York, and New York City.