Little Bird Dog and the Big Ship by Marjorie Haun

Little Bird Dog and the Big Ship (AuthorHouse, 44 pp., $21.99, paper) is the first volume in what author Marjorie Haun calls her  “The Heroes of the Vietnam War” series of children’s books. This short book, illustrated by Stephen Adams, looks at former South Vietnamese Air Force Major Bung-Ly and his escape from Vietnam with his wife and five young children during the chaotic last day of the war, April 30,1975.

Bung-Ly gathered up his family in the middle of the night as the North Vietnamese took over. The family left South Vietnam aboard the Major’s Cessna 0-1 Bird Dog. After dodging machine gun fire over Con Son Island, Bung-Ly flew the plane out to the South China Sea, where—after more than a few harrowing moments—he landed safely on the deck of the U.S.aircraft carrier Midway.

Haun tells this stirring story well. Her one-page summary of the Vietnam War, though, should not be taken as the last word on that subject. She writes:

“South Vietnam had been a peaceful nation and its people were very kind to America. But enemies from the North fought for years trying to overrun the beautiful, tropical country which was home to farmers, fisherman, and merchants.

“The American Military went to South Vietnam to help their government fight invaders from the North who wanted to take over everything and force the people to live in a way they did not want to live. After many years of war, the Americans were ordered by their government to leave. Sadly the enemies from North Vietnam took over the country. Thousands of good and peaceful people from South Vietnam were rescued, and the Aircraft Carrier Midway became their temporary home.”

—Marc Leepson