Sunday, September 4, 2016

Book Review: Granite by Susan Butcher and David Monson

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Heartwarming story for kids of all ages
Cons: I’m not cold hearted enough to list a con
The Bottom Line:
Racer and her dog
Fueled by bond between them
Captured for all here

Powerful Story of Bonds and Believing in Others

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I know I heard about Susan Butcher before my recent trip to Alaska.  In the 80’s, she made headlines as the first woman to win the Iditarod Trail sled dog trace.  However, I know I hadn’t heard the story of Granite, her best lead dog.  For those, like me, who missed this part of the tale (er, tail?), there’s this excellent picture book to tell them the story.

Granite was the runt of his litter, and everyone told Susan to adopt him out as a pet to a family in the area – any family in the area.  He’d never become a sled dog.  But Susan didn’t want to listen.  Something about this puppy spoke to her, so she kept him and trained him to become one of her sled dogs.

The bond between the two made Granite work harder than the other dogs Susan owned.  However, the pair would face illness and nature on their way to winning the Iditarod.  Can they win the race?

Thanks to my allergies, I’m not a super pet guy.  I know people connect to their animals, but I never have truly connected to animals.  And yet, I dare you to read this book without your heart melting over the relationship that Susan and Granite have.  The love and care come across in these words and pictures.

That’s not too surprising since the book was co-authored by Susan Butcher and her husband David Monson.  They do a wonderful job of capturing the situations that Susan and Granite find themselves in as they struggle through the races.  No, the book isn’t written in first person, but the third person narration still captures the emotions.

I mentioned earlier that this is a picture book, and the illustrations are done by Sarah Douglas.  She does a great job of bringing the story to life.

Being a picture book, the target audience is definitely children, however, if you pick up a copy to read, you’ll find you enjoy it no matter what your age.  Kids, especially those who love animals, will want to read it over and over again.  I read it to my three-year-old nephew while we were in Alaska together, and he immediately wanted to read it again, in fact.

So if you have young kids in your life, pick up a copy of Granite for them.  But be sure to read it yourself first.  It’s a heartwarming story that all will treasure.


  1. Thanks for alerting me to this, Mark. Being a long time fan of the Iditarod, I'm sure to enjoy it even at my advanced age.

    1. Yes, you'll definitely love it with your interest in the race. It's a heart warming book period.

  2. Sounds like a great book for kids!