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‘Gobi: A Little Dog with a Big Heart’ and ‘Finding Gobi: A Little Dog with a Very Big Heart’ Book Reviews

'Gobi: A Little Dog with a Big Heart' and 'Finding Gobi: The True Story of One Little Dog's Big Journey' Book Reviews

Books starring animals are among the favorite picks of my children. I am also an animal lover and current pet parent to five pets. Two of my three dogs and both of my cats are rescue animals. Animal stories therefore hold a special place in my heart, and I love reading new books about true animal tales. When recently offered the chance to review Gobi: A Little Dog with a Big Heart and Finding Gobi: The True Story of One Little Dog’s Big Journey written by Dion Leonard in exchange for my honest opinion, I eagerly accepted the opportunity to add both new titles to my home library.

Author/Illustrator

Currently residing in Edinburgh, Scotland with his wife Lucja, author Dion Leonard is an Australian who has completed in some of the toughest ultra-marathons in some of the most inhospitable landscapes in the world. He has run across the brutal Moroccan Sahara desert twice in the Marathon Des Sables and twice across the Kalahari Desert in Africa. His race across the Gobi Desert in China turned out completely different when he fell in love with a stray dog (later named Gobi) that followed him during his week in the desert and who would change both of their lives forever. Gobi: A Little Dog with a Big Heart and Finding Gobi: The True Story of One Little Dog’s Big Journey tell the amazing story of rescuing the little stray.

Originally from Hawaii and currently residing in upstate New York with her husband and pets, illustrator Lisa Manuzak created the illustrations for the picture book Gobi: A Little Dog with a Big Heart. As a children’s illustrator and video game concept artist, she has lived all over the world, being inspired by the world and the colors around her. She loves fantastical and magical stories, exploring distant lands, experimenting with art, growing plants, and collecting pets including her current corgi, two cats, and one very large fish.

Synopsis

Both Gobi: A Little Dog with a Big Heart and Finding Gobi: The True Story of One Little Dog’s Big Journey tell the story of a scrappy stray dog named Gobi who latches onto an ultra-marathoner named Dion, keeping pace alongside the man for 77 miles of a long 155-mile race across the Gobi Desert in China. While on a long hard journey consisting of cold nights and raging rivers with little food and water, the man and dog create a bond unlike any other. At the end of the race, Dion decides to bring the little dog home with him to Scotland. After Gobi disappears, an against-all-odds search ensues until man and dogs are eventually reunited. The amazing true story sparked international attention. Author Dion Leonard released the adult version of his story, Finding Gobi, to rave reviews in June 2017. Gobi: A Little Dog with a Big Heart and Finding Gobi: The True Story of One Little Dog’s Big Journey are the versions of the story written especially for children of two age groups.

Gobi: A Little Dog with a Big Heart

Recommended for readers between the ages of 4 and 8 in preschool through third grade, Gobi: A Little Dog with a Big Heart is the picture book edition of the Gobi story. The 32-page full-color illustrated picture book currently costs $16.99 on Amazon.

Front Cover of 'Gobi: A Little Dog with a Big Heart' Back Cover of 'Gobi: A Little Dog with a Big Heart'

Inside Pages of 'Gobi: A Little Dog with a Big Heart' 1 Inside Pages of 'Gobi: A Little Dog with a Big Heart' 2

Finding Gobi: The True Story of One Little Dog’s Big Journey

Recommended for readers between the ages of 8 and 12 in third through seventh grade, Finding Gobi: The True Story of One Little Dog’s Big Journey is the young reader’s edition of the Gobi story. The 208-page book currently costs $14.99 on Amazon.

Front Cover of and 'Finding Gobi: The True Story of One Little Dog's Big Journey' Back Cover of and 'Finding Gobi: The True Story of One Little Dog's Big Journey'

Evaluation

I am kind of a sucker for animal stories with happy endings, so I was excited to receive copies of Gobi: A Little Dog with a Big Heart and Finding Gobi: The True Story of One Little Dog’s Big Journey to share with my kiddos. The picture book focuses on the time that Gobi spent following Dion on the Gobi Desert during the marathon. The story ends with the pair earning a medal together at the end of the race. The final page talks about Dion adopting Gobi and finally taking her home after the little dog got lost for a time in Urumqi, a massive city with a population of three million people. The picture book is perfect for little readers, focusing on the positive aspects of the Gobi story. The illustrations help bring the story to life. I especially love the drawings depicting the adorable little Gobi.

As a chapter book, Finding Gobi: The True Story of One Little Dog’s Big Journey fills in more blanks about the Gobi story. The book begins with a little dog following a man as he runs a race across the unforgiving Gobi Desert. The story then chronicles the journey that the man and dog take to complete the race and then that the man takes to bring the dog home back to Scotland. The story is written in a way that allows readers in third through seventh grade to easily follow and understand the text. I was able to get a through a few short chapters at a time, and I am excited to share the story with my kiddos as both get older.

Final Verdict

If your kiddos enjoy inspiring animal tales as much as my kiddos do, I highly recommend checking out Gobi: A Little Dog with a Big Heart and Finding Gobi: The True Story of One Little Dog’s Big Journey written by Dion Leonard. Both books tell the amazing story of a scrappy little dog living in the Gobi Desert as she befriends an ultra-marathoner named Dion. The picture book focuses on the race, with the dog and man duo winning a medal at the end of the marathon. The chapter book goes into more detail about Gobi, retelling her journey from desert to eventual home in Scotland. Both books are juvenile editions of the original adult Finding Gobi. My children and I give both editions enthusiastic thumbs up!

Purchase Gobi: A Little Dog with a Big Heart and Finding Gobi: The True Story of One Little Dog’s Big Journey on Amazon via my affiliate links.

Image Credits

‘Gobi: A Little Dog with a Big Heart’ and ‘Finding Gobi: The True Story of One Little Dog’s Big Journey’ Book Reviews © 2017 Heather Johnson
Front Cover of ‘Gobi: A Little Dog with a Big Heart’ © 2017 Heather Johnson
Back Cover of ‘Gobi: A Little Dog with a Big Heart’ © 2017 Heather Johnson
Inside Pages of ‘Gobi: A Little Dog with a Big Heart’ 1 © 2017 Heather Johnson
Inside Pages of ‘Gobi: A Little Dog with a Big Heart’ 2 © 2017 Heather Johnson
Front Cover of and ‘Finding Gobi: The True Story of One Little Dog’s Big Journey’ © 2017 Heather Johnson
Back Cover of and ‘Finding Gobi: The True Story of One Little Dog’s Big Journey’ © 2017 Heather Johnson

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