The Dog in the Wood

The Dog in the Wood

Monika Schröder

When the Russians invade Fritz’s family flees.

Fritz loves his vegetable garden. His tomatoes are delicious, he’s attentive to the asparagus, and he remembers how to keep slugs off the strawberries. But his tranquil life on the family farm is about to end–the Russians are near, Hitler has died, and known Nazi sympathizers like the Friedrich family brace for the Bolsheviks to take over their town. They move to the distant house of his grandmother, Oma Clara. Life there for Fritz is horrible, made even worse when Communists arrest his mother and Lech, the Polish farmhand who has tended the Friedrich land, for hiding weapons. Though there is no evidence to support the accusation, Gertrude and Lech are taken away, and Fritz commits to finding where they are imprisoned. Despite the boy’s heroic efforts, the story ends with one of the war’s ambiguities: that Lech and Gertrude may not return home.

  • Ages: 10 - 14
  • Grades: 4 - 6
  • Pages: 168

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Recent Reviews

7 While a wealth of children's books set during World War II focus on the Holocaust, Schröder brings some of Germany's other young victims to light in her exceptional debut novel... Based on the author's grandfather's experiences, this poignant look at the effects of war and propaganda, especially on children, resonates with candor and eloquence.

—Kirkus Reviews

Narrated in clipped prose and told through short chapters, the novel is brutal; interspersed between the harrowing experiences are descriptions of difficult farm work, from growing vegetables to slaughtering a pig. The author’s note fills in the history and her family’s background. The action in this important addition to WWII literature will grab readers, and Schröder’s story is an excellent, authentic portrait of children in war.


Honors for The Dog in the Wood

  • New York State Reading Association —Suggested Reading List 2011-20-12
  • The Society of School Librarians International: Language Arts: Grades K-6 Novels: Honor Book
  • VOYA Magazine: Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers