Asher Kravitz writes from a unique perspective of a Jewish dog in 1935 Germany. From the first chapter, the reader will know this will be a delightful little book, even given the topic of Nazis and the Holocaust. Caleb, the Jewish dog, has an immediate love for his Jewish family. Caleb is smart and understands love and loyalty. When his family’s fortunes turn, due to an increasing number of rules against Jews, Caleb is given away. His next family is less than loving and Caleb realizes his own fortune has changed, too. He runs away and ends of with a Nazi family and then as a stray. Finally Caleb becomes a dog trained to smell out Jews and is relocated to Treblinka. Caleb wrestles with his Jewish past, as well as, his own need to survive while being fed by the Nazis.
Kravitz writes with humor as Caleb tries to discern how humans and dogs are the same (and different). Even though the writing style is simple, this book is powerful at telling a story from this unique perspective, and also creating parallels about the Holocaust and its various players. This is a book filled with subtle lessons that any human (or dog) can appreciate, learn from, and carry forth in their heart when faced with right and wrong, love and hate.
This review originally appeared in Portland Book Review