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Rags Hero Dog of WWI: A True Story

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  237 ratings  ·  57 reviews
During World War I, while stationed overseas in France with the United States Army, Private James Donovan literally stumbles upon a small dog cowering on the streets of Paris. Named Rags for his disheveled appearance, the little stray quickly finds a home with Donovan and a place in his heart. Although the Army did not have an official canine division, Rags accompanies Don ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published August 2nd 2014 by Sleeping Bear Press
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Average rating 4.22  · 
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Luisa Knight
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is based on a true story and is one that will show your children some simple scenes of World War I and tug at your heart strings. Tissue is advised.

Ages: 6 - 10

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Alex  Baugh
Nov 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: world-war-i
This is the story of a mongrel dog who was surviving by his wits in Paris when he was found by an American soldier named James Donovan during an air raid after the Americans entered WWI.

Private Donovan felt sorry for the hungry, scruffy, scared pup, giving him the very suitable name Rags. When the air raid was over, Donovan took Rags back to his army base, where he was ordered to pack up this gear so he could leave for the battlefield that night. And yes, Rags went with him.

It didn't take long
Fredy Torres
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Rags; Is an extraordinary non-fiction book that tells the story of loyalty and friendship between a stray dog and soldier in the U.S. Army by the name of James Donovan. One night while patrolling the streets of Paris James Donovan literary stumbled upon the dog that would later be known as Rags. He brought the dog to his base where he quickly learned commands and became an unofficial military working dog. Rags cleared the trenches of rats, took messages to troops who were further away in the tre ...more
This quick read tells the true story of a little Parisian dog who is adopted by an American soldier during WWI. The dog bonds with the soldier and is allowed to stay as a mascot, carrying messages through the lines.

I checked this out when my Grandson needed to read several nonfiction books about animals, and he enjoyed it. There is a death in the book, so be warned. (It's not the dog.) I thought the pictures were better than the story itself, which was really brief, so 2.5 stars.

Be sure to read
Emily McKnight
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Summary: Adventures, battles and ultimately legendary status, a little dog named Rag finds himself to be the best companion of an US army man, during WWI. This is the tailor of a loved and loyal dog who earns his status as a soldier.

Personal Response: When children learn of war, they quickly catch on to its reality-death, injuries, and loneliness for many soldiers. This tale brings light to the battlefield as a soldier has a little dog to help them all. In an almost comical way, this is a story
Ashley Biles
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-shelf
Raven, M. T. (2014) Rags hero dog of WWI: A true story. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Sleeping Bear Press.

This is a touching story about how a solider found a dog in the streets of a town he was deployed to and just had to take him home. Despite trying to keep him out of harms way, Rags just wanted to stay with his person. He soon become one of the soliders as well. This is the journey of Rags and his solider, up until the solider died and Rags has to find a new love and a new home.
Sheri S.
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I heard about Rags from an acquaintance and this was the only book I could find when I searched for the story. This childrens book tells Rag's story of heroism and the brief story of the man who found him. Rags, a mutt found on the street in Paris, ended up becoming attached to an Army division and he served his country well. The story is a bit emotional at the end but it's a good book and is wonderfully illustrated.
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful picture book about an actual dog named Rags who was adopted by a WWI American soldier named Donovan. The dog worked to send messages back and forth to American troops until Donovan and Rags were injured in a shell arrack. Donovan dies but Rags lives in with a commander’s family and moves to the US. I chose this book for my class because of the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day. A nice story.
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A super cute story that informs readers about the heroic role our four-footed friends played in WWI. Although this is an illustrated kids book, I recommend it to readers of all ages, especially those who love dogs. I read it to my dog (he wasn't that interested in books...), and I also work with high schoolers who are super interested in these types of stories.
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully told and illustrated story of stray dog, Rags, who is adopted by US Army Private James Donovan in Paris during WW1. The pair are inseparable even on the battlefield. Rags, war hero, 1st Division Mascot WW1.
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: akron
Really a nice little book! Well done..... one can hardly beat that combination, history & a cute little dog! Very nice colored drawings/illustrations, & epilogue & 'tail end' at the end. Good for all ages! ...more
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My daughter loved this nonfiction picture book. While this may be a bit dark for younger readers (it doesn't shy away from some of the darker aspects of WWI), it was informative and interesting, with great pictures.
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A true story of a remarkable little dog. Rags is a little mutt who became one of the first war dogs to help soldiers in WWI. He would run messages back and forth and helped save many lives.
Ro Menendez
May 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
True story, but as it often happens with any canine centered plot, a sad ending.
Andrea K
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Can’t believe I’d never heard of this precious story!!!
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved the story of Rags, but I thought the author could have made the ending more clear, including how Rags went from the hospital to his new home.
Aug 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm a sucker for a tearjerker real-life soldier dog story.
Soft-hearted readers will need to get out their handkerchiefs or have a box of tissues ready for this one. When an American soldier, James Donovan takes pity on a stray dog he finds in Paris during WW1, the dog repays his kindness through his loyalty. Since there were no canine divisions in those days, Rags is on his own, and he follows Donovan onto the battlefield, providing entertainment and affection or the soldiers and even risking his life while delivering messages from one part of the fron ...more
Apr 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Rags: Hero Dog of WWI, written by Margot Theis Raven and illustrated by Petra Brown, is a nominee for the 2016-17 South Carolina Picture Book Award.

Rags tells the true story of a small dog who made a big difference. Rags began his life as a mutt in the streets of Paris, but a chance encounter with an American soldier, Private James Donovan, during World War I changed this dog's life.

Rags became a mascot of sorts for the Army's First Division, and he and Donovan became inseparable. Rags assisted
May 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Rags is a dog who has never had anyone to love and take care of him- that is until a young soldier finds him and invites him into his life as a war dog. Rags quickly becomes famous for all he has done, and gives his life to aid the soldiers. This remarkable true story tells just how much love there is between a man and his dog and at what lengths Rags will go in order to save him.

The illustrations in this particular book are very well thought out and done beautifully. The colors seem to have a w
Aleisha Douthitt
May 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
THIS BOOK IS AMAZING! By far my favorite book that I read this term. This book is about a man named Donovan who is in the army. He finds this dog in Paris and names him Rags because of his filthy appearance. The Dog comes with the men on deployment and quickly becomes more than a dog, but a companion, best friend, and war hero to Donovan. Rags saves Donovan's life even when he has to risk himself. This story brought me to tears and made me laugh, it was amazing and heartfelt. The illustrations h ...more
Oct 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
The story and illustrations for this book are adorable! Brave little dog goes to war. The illustrations are adorable and the story intriguing!

I felt, though, that the story would have better fitted a midgrade length chapter book. The picture book had two long pages of text at the end that were just as important to Rags' story, but were not illustrated (page restrictions because of format?). I wish the author/illustrator hadn't limited themselves so much OR simply made their work longer than the
Ruth Ann
Touching story about a stray dog found by a WWI soldier in Paris. Sergeant Donovan named the dog Rags.

Rags proved to be a very useful companion. He was able to warn soldiers of incoming bombs by hitting the dirt before the men could he hear their approach. Rags got rid of mice and rats in the trenches enabling soldiers to have more relaxing nights. He also learned to salute!

Must read Epilogue to find out what happens to Rags!
Rebecca Tew
A private in the US Army stumbles upon a little dog while he is stationed in Paris. The two soon become inseparable and Rags even accompanies him into battle.

The illustrations are done digitally.

This book would be useful in the classroom because it is about WWI, which is not as commonly written about, especially in children's books. It is also a great book for kids because it is about a dog and kids love dogs.
Aug 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
As heartwarming as it is historical, this book tells the story of WWI hero, Rags, a mascot dog. He begins his life as a stray and finds his life's mission when a soldier adopts him from the streets. Through thick and thin they stick together until death does them part.

Great read aloud for grades 3-6+ about a bleak war and one of its shining stars.
Age: 2nd-4th grade

Raven highlights the amazing work and loyalty exhibited by Rags during WWI. I've decided to put this in the higher level nonfiction area because Rags gets injured by a bomb (view spoiler). The story is full of action and suspense which will keep an older audience's interest.
Nov 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
I can't wait to show this to my animal-loving readers! They will fall in love with Rags, and perhaps learn a bit about World War I as well. Too few books about The War to End All Wars for youngsters, this will be a great addition. Realistic illustrations show the soft parts of the story and the hard parts of the war.
Denise Monegato
Mar 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved this book and so did all of my students. Very well-written for both read-aloud and silent reading, realistic illustrations, includes additional information about Rags after he retired from active duty as well as facts about service dogs in the military. Great non-fiction read that aligns with CCSS. Highly recommended.
Pam  Page
Nov 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Sweet story about Rags, a little stray dog found by a soldier during WWI. Rags becomes a war dog for the United States and helps by carrying messages and boosting morale of soldiers. With the simple story this is a great way to introduce WWI to younger students while sharing a great animal story.
Holly Mueller
Rags, a WWI mascot dog to United States Army soldier, Private James Donovan, will steal your heart. I'm reading Duke by Kirby Larson to my 5th graders now during my fear/courage unit, and this would be a wonderful companion.
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