Reviews for Hachiko : The True Story of a Loyal Dog


Booklist Monthly Selections - # 2 April 2004
/*Starred Review*/ Gr. 1-3. This small, square picture book pays tribute to one of the world's lesser-known animal heroes: Hachiko, a dog who kept vigil for nearly 10 years at a Tokyo train station, waiting for his deceased master to return from work. Turner unfolds this poignant true story in the natural, unaffected voice of Kentaro, a fictional little boy, who wonders at the dog's unswerving devotion. Unobtrusive details evoke a sense of place ("Ladies in kimonos walked carefully, trying to keep their white tabi socks away from the grime of the streets"), as does Nascimbene's spare line-and-watercolor artwork, reminiscent of Japanese woodblock prints. American children will find the scenes of kimono-clad women bustling alongside men in Western suits especially intriguing. Though Hachiko's eventual death may be upsetting to some (he dies at the station, "still waiting for Mr. Ueno"), the sad news is leavened by an ending that emphasizes his status as a furry folk hero in Tokyo, further elaborated in an afterword. This will resonate with any child who has loved a dog and been loved in return; for reading aloud to groups of older kids, pair the story with The Mightiest Heart (2003), a Welsh legend about another selfless hound. ((Reviewed April 15, 2004)) Copyright 2004 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2004 Fall
A fictional narrator relates this Japanese story about a dog named Hachiko, who was known to accompany his owner to the train station each day. After Dr. Ueno died at work, Hachiko continued to wait for him at the station--until his own death almost ten years later. The austere elegance of Nascimbene's watercolors matches the subdued tone of quiet dignity in Turner's text. Author's note. Copyright 2004 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2004 #4
A fictional narrator relates this much-loved Japanese story about a dog named Hachiko, whose statue stands at the entrance to the Shibuya train station in Tokyo. In 1923, Hachiko was known to accompany his owner, a university professor, to the train station each morning and would meet him there again each evening. One day, however, Dr. Ueno died of a stroke while at work; Hachiko continued to wait for him at the station each morning and night--until his own death almost ten years later. The austere elegance of Nascimbene's watercolors matches the suitably distant and subdued tone of quiet dignity in Turner's text. The admirably unsentimental presentation closes with an author's note that provides more of the details behind the story. Copyright 2004 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2004 May #1
Hachiko was a real dog who lived in Tokyo from 1923 to 1935. For almost ten years after his master's death, Hachiko waited at the busy Shibuya train station in Tokyo, ever hopeful that his owner would return. This touching tale of a dog's devotion to his master is a well-known story in Japan, told here in first person through the eyes of a fictional boy named Kentaro. The boy and many others care for the dog, who becomes a celebrity due to his faithful nature, with a statue of the dog erected in the station even before the dog's death from old age. The story is told gently, in a thoughtful, restrained way that makes the reader admire the faithful dog rather than pity him. Watercolor illustrations using a variety of perspectives are also executed in a thoughtful, restrained style, with full-page illustrations alternating with small, square views of the dog waiting patiently in different seasons. An interesting two-page author's note provides additional background on Hachiko's story. (Picture book. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus 2004 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Media Connection Reviews 2005 January
Both melancholy and moving, this is a tale for dog lovers of all ages. Hachiko sits in Shibuya train station in Tokyo everyday waiting for his master. One day Dr. Ueno dies at the University and never gets off the train. This doesn't deter Hachiko. For seven years he continues to travel to the station everyday to wait for his master. The story is told through the eyes of a small boy named Kentaro who falls in love with Hachiko and continues to care for him after Dr. Ueno's death. Soon, Kentaro finds that others, who share Kentaro's love and admiration for the single-minded dog, bring him food and water. Eventually a statue is created in memory of the undying devotion of Hachiko where even today (according to the post script) people who have been separated for a long time agree to meet. This book shows the unfailing nature of a dog's devotion to a friend, but also honors the culture of the Japanese people who admire the tenacity of a dog waiting endlessly for his human. Alternating full page and quarter page pastel illustrations in the style of Japanese prints show Hachiko waiting for Dr. Ueno through the changing seasons and years. Recommended. Pam Watts Flavin, Children's Librarian, Arlington, Massachusetts, and Professor, Lesley University © 2005 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2004 May #3
Every child in Japan knows the story of Hachiko, the dog who waited at a Tokyo train station to greet his owner each afternoon and who, after his owner's sudden death, continued to wait for him at the station until his own death 10 years later, in 1935 (a statue of Hachiko is now a famous Tokyo meeting place). First-time author Turner retells Hachiko's story in the voice of Kentaro, a fictitious six-year-old. Nascimbene (Into the Air) tints the pale skies of his watercolors after the manner of Japanese woodblocks. The tone of his compositions range from humor (Kentaro hides behind his kimono-wearing mother) to pathos (scattered bouquets litter the station in honor of the loyal dog, after his death). As Hachiko keeps vigil for his dead master, Dr. Ueno, Kentaro asks Dr. Ueno's gardener the question that readers will also be pondering: does Hachiko realize that Dr. Ueno is dead? "Perhaps he still hopes that Dr. Ueno will return someday," the gardener replies. "Or perhaps he knows Dr. Ueno is dead, but he waits at the station to honor his master's memory." Turner's foreshortened rendition tends to invest the most drama in the moments of death and grieving ("One chilly morning I woke to the sound of Mama crying"); the blander passages relating Hachiko's constancy might not make enough of an impact on younger readers. Ages 4-8. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2004 May
Gr 1-4-In 1932, a dog won the hearts of the people of Japan after a newspaper article described his loyalty to his owner. Every afternoon, Hachiko would wait at the train station for Dr. Ueno. After the man died suddenly in 1925, the animal returned to the station every day to wait for him, until his own death in 1935. A bronze statue was placed at Shibuya Station to honor this extraordinary canine, and a festival is held there every April. The story is told through the eyes of a young boy named Kentaro, and his imagined interactions with the dog make the events come alive as he worries about and befriends this special creature. Years later, he is saddened by the news of the animal's death. The softly hued watercolor illustrations have a simplicity that brings to mind the style of Japanese woodcuts. Each small image of Hachiko expresses the personality of this furry, gentle creature. An author's note clarifies "The Story behind the Story." This touching tale will capture the hearts of young dog lovers.-Carol Schene, Taunton Public Schools, MA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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