The Ranger in Time Series by Kate Messner is a wonderfully accessible historical fiction series with a dog as the main character, and you know, kids love dogs. If you are looking for a step up from Magic Tree House, but your student is not quite ready for heavier historical fiction, then this should be on your list to read. Ranger is a loveable, yet flawed, dog, who just wants to do his job and go home. He went through all of his search and rescue training, but failed because he couldn't stop chasing those squirrels! When he find a mysterious first aid kit in the garden one day, he puts it on and travels back to 1850 where he helps a family traveling on the Oregon Trail. All of his training is put to use as the family meets up with many hardships along the trail, and Ranger helps out with them all.
In the second book, Ranger travels back to Ancient Rome and finds himself in a gladiator school with a young slave that is trying to help train a reluctant gladiator. Ranger does his best to to help the young boy including confronting a lion and rescuing someone from a burning building.
In this third book, Ranger finds himself helping two young runaway slaves to find freedom. They travel many miles, and Ranger must be brave to stand up to the angry slave hunters and even wolves.
At the end of every story, there comes a time when Ranger's first aid kit starts to call him back, and Ranger knows that he has completed his job. The kids in the story seem to understand that Ranger must go and give him a small token to remember. When he returns to present day, he keeps his gifts and the first aid kit safely stored under his blanket, until next time.
I am excited to share these with students, and I especially enjoyed the afterword by the author where she shared how she researched for each book and found inspiration.
Look for the first Ranger in Time, Rescue on the Oregon Trail, on the the WLMA OTTER Award list for 2016-2017.