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Action, adventure, history, and pooches

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Your dog is always finding things to chew on.

Sometimes, he even asks you to throw those things for him, just so he can find them again.

Normally that leads to a fun game. But what if he found something that was important? What if, as in the new book “Ranger in Time: Rescue on the Oregon Trail” by Kate Messner, his discovery could save a life?

Squirrels were the main reason Ranger the golden retriever flunked out of Rescue Dog training. He was really good at finding people with his nose, but Ranger just couldn’t stop chasing squirrels.

Luke, Ranger’s boy, knew that and he loved Ranger just the same. Ranger was a good dog, he just didn’t pay attention — and sometimes, neither did Luke. Luke didn’t notice that when Ranger was digging in the dirt, he’d found a metal box. And therefore, Luke didn’t see Ranger disappear.

The box hummed and a white light came from the edges of it. Ranger couldn’t look at the light, but when he finally opened his eyes, he was in a dusty, loud place with big animals, funny smells — and a woman’s frantic voice. Someone was lost, and Ranger heard a familiar word: “Find!”

Sam Abbott knew he was going to miss his family. He hated leaving the farm, too, but his pa made the decision to move. Now there was a long trip ahead of them: it would take weeks and weeks to get to Oregon by foot and by wagon train. Leaving everything behind would make it seem even longer.

And now there was this dog tagging along, but Sam didn’t mind. The dog had found Sam’s little sister when she wandered off. He warned the family when a herd of buffalo stampeded. He was a good dog but where did in the world — or out of it — did that dog come from?

Action, adventure, history, and pooches. If this sounds like the perfect recipe for a new chapter book series, then “Ranger in Time: Rescue on the Oregon Trail” is exactly what your child will want you to dish up.

It’s easy to get caught up in this story because Messner makes her characters so likeable and the scenes so authentic. Kids, I think, will like the flow between then and now, and I think they’ll be clinging to the edges of their seats once they get to the big finale. Be sure, too, that they read the author’s note at the back. It’s a nice wrap-up.

All together, this book is a great introduction to a new hero that 7-to-10-year-olds will look forward to seeing again. If your child is ready for a fantasy-history-non-fiction-based chapter book, then “Ranger in Time: Rescue on the Oregon Trail” is the one to find.

“Ranger in Time: Rescue on the Oregon Trail,” by Kate Messner [144 pages, 2015, $17.99 hardcover, 5.99 paperback].

Terri Schlichenmeyer has been reading since she was 3 years old, and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill with two dogs and 12,000 books.

Updated 5:31 pm, December 9, 2016
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