Reviews for Night of the Howling Dogs
Booklist Reviews 2007 August #1
*Starred Review* Senior patrol leader of his Hilo, Hawaii, scout troop, eighth-grader Dylan looks forward to camping on the coast in the shadow of a volcano. But when he hears that Louie, a tough, troubled kid, will be joining the scouts on the trip, Dylan remembers when their paths crossed once before, and his anticipation turns to dread. Dylan's sense of foreboding is justified tenfold. After a difficult trek to their campsite, an earthquake jolts the ground and shakes boulders down from the cliff. Then a tsunami engulfs the area. Even in the midst of disaster, Dylan finds that support can come from unexpected directions. A strong sense of place informs the plot as well as the setting of this convincing story. In an unusually compelling author's note, Salisbury writes of camping on the site of the 1975 natural disaster at Halape with his cousin, who lived through it as a Boy Scout. Inspired by that earthquake and tsunami, this vivid adventure soon strips away every vestige of normality, leaving characters dependent on their wits, their skills, and the mysterious spirits of land and sea for their survival. Salisbury weaves Hawaiian legend into the modern-day narrative to create a haunting, unusual novel that will practically booktalk itself. Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2007 #5
Many a disaster story has begun with a small cadre of campers out in the wilderness, and Salisbury's latest -- about Boy Scouts caught on Hawaii's Big Island during the earthquake and ensuing tsunami of 1975 -- is no exception. What is exceptional, however, is that this story is based on a stranger-than-fiction episode in which Salisbury's cousin survived being carried over the coastline by the giant wave. Nature, in all her unsuspecting terror, is the main character here, but two members of the troop -- Dylan, the even-tempered narrator, and "bad boy" Louie, who came "into the troop with a chip on his shoulder the size of Australia" -- discover much about themselves as they find the inner strength necessary to help the other Scouts. Still, their actions are mere subplots to the tsunami's ferocity, and Salisbury's visual writing creates vivid scenes of water receding, giant waves advancing, and fissure edges sharp as glass. His attempts to weave legends about Pele into the narrative are less successful, but the real fury of the ocean creates a survival story that emphasizes the Scouts' motto: Be Prepared. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2007 July #1
When Dylan's Boy Scout troop--eight Scouts and two adult leaders--hikes on the Big Island of Hawaii, down into the beautiful land by the ancient lava flow and the ocean, they must face the grueling heat, wasps, roaches, sharks, wild dogs and rumors of ghosts. But when a catastrophic earthquake hits, followed by a wall of water churned up by a tsunami, mere survival becomes their only goal. This good, old-fashioned survival tale based on a true event of November 29, 1975, is leisurely paced for the first half of the novel. Characters and setting are expertly developed, as is the conflict between Dylan and Louie Domingo--two characters at odds who must work together during the crisis and appreciate each other's strengths. When the quake hits, the pace of the prose matches the action with short, verb-driven sentences, lively dialogue and prolific exclamation points. Given the ordeal, the tale ends satisfactorily, with Dylan and Louie's grudging acceptance of each other and Dylan's new-found relationship with his father. Like any good survival story, this will make readers ponder what they would do when survival is on the line. A sure-fire literary thriller. (author's note) (Fiction. 9-12) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Reviews 2007 August
Gr 5-9-- While camping out on the south flank of Kilauea, Dylan endures taunts and threats from older, glowering Louie, newest member of his Boy Scout troop from Hilo and with whom he has had a previous encounter. A campfire ghost story sets a suspenseful mood, which is heightened by the suggestion of some paniolos--Hawaiian cowboys who have camped out nearby--that the Goddess Pele, in the form of a dog Dylan has repeatedly seen, foretells trouble to come. That night there's an earthquake, then a bigger one. As the boys struggle to regain their senses, they are struck by a tsunami. Louie and Dylan, relatively uninjured, work together to find and help the others. Dylan swims out to rescue their dazed and injured scoutmaster and Sam, who desperately clings to a small rubber air mattress. Louie and Dylan undertake an arduous hike along the shore to obtain help. Spotted by a Coast Guard helicopter, the troop is rescued. Dylan and Louie may not have become best friends, but they've reached an appreciation of each others' strengths. An author's note explains the details of the story that are based on true events. Like Ivy Ruckman's No Way Out (HarperCollins, 1989), Salisbury's tale of courage, strength, and survival is appealing, exciting, and insightful.--Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Junior High School, Iowa City, IA [Page 125]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
VOYA Reviews 2007 August
Eighth grade Boy Scouts and best friends Dylan and Casey are excited about their weekend camping trip to Halape, a remote beach campground at the foot of the Kilauea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. At first, their only concern is the inclusion of Louie Domingo, a tough kid from the wrong side of town brought along by the scoutmaster, Casey's father. But during the hot, rugged hike to the campsite and again each evening, the eerie howling of a pair of feral dogs, one white and one dark, unsettles the friends even more than Louie's hostile attitude. A Hawaiian ranch hand who visits the campsite tells the boys that the volcano goddess Pele often appears in the guise of a white dog as a warning before the next eruption of the active volcano Kilauea. The scouts are skeptical, but that night an offshore eruption triggers a tsunami that threatens their lives and forces Dylan to team up with Louie to try to rescue several of their scattered and injured companions Based on an actual event experienced by the author's cousin in 1975 (as described in a lengthy author's note), this survival adventure is dynamically integrated into one of those beautiful but potentially deadly Hawaiian settings for which Salisbury's stories are renowned. The tsunami that roars over the campers dramatizes the power of natural forces to overwhelm mundane human concerns. Salisbury skillfully weaves together the elements of scouting, male bonding, outdoor adventure, and natural disaster in a spectacular setting.-Walter Hogan PLB $19.99. ISBN 978-0-385-90146-8. 4Q 4P M J Copyright 2007 Voya Reviews.