Robyn Walker is a school librarian and freelance writer. She does regular book reviews for The School Library Journal. She lives in St. Thomas, Ontario.
Sergeant Gander is a fascinating account of the Royal Rifles of Canadas canine mascot, and his devotion to duty demonstrated during the Battle of Hong Kong in the Second World War. Armed only with his formidable size, an intimidating set of teeth, and a protective instinct, Gander rought alongside his fellow Canadian soldiers. As the Royal Rifles’ position become more precarious, the men were forced to retreat into the hills of Hong Kong, and it was here that a group of wounded Canadians, threatened by a live grenade, came to fully appreciate the loyalty of Gander.
For his service in battle, Sergeant Gander was awarded the Dickin Medal, the animal equivalent to the Victoria Cross for humans. This honour is dedicated to animals displaying gallantry and devotion to duty while under any control of the armed forces. Sergeant Gander is the nineteenth dog to receive this medal and the first Canadian canine to do so.
Sergeant Gander is well researched and historically accurate. It is also unusual because it is the biography of a dog, but an unusual dog with many human qualities.