Number the Stars | Study Guide

Lois Lowry

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Number the Stars | Chapter 15 : My Dogs Smell Meat! | Summary



Annemarie thinks of her mother's advice, and she thinks of her sister. She tries to act how Kirsti would, like a "silly, empty-headed" girl her mother told her to be if she encountered soldiers. The soldiers question her, suggesting her uncle could eat the fish he catches on the boat. Annemarie chatters on as she thinks her sister would do. The soldier takes her bread and tosses half to each of his dogs. She objects. He takes the cheese and offers it to the other three soldiers, who refuse it. Annemarie asks to leave. He examines and rejects the spotted apple, and then he asks if she has meat. Annemarie says no. "Your army eats all of Denmark's meat," she says. The soldier argues his dog smells meat, and he removes the napkin. In doing so he reveals the packet at the bottom of the basket.

The soldier asks why it was hidden, and Annemarie says it was not hidden "any more than the napkin was." The dogs are straining toward them, and the soldier opens the packet to reveal a handkerchief. The soldiers send her on her way. When she reaches the ship, Uncle Henrik is extremely relieved to see her and the packet.

Annemarie looks around for the Rosens, but Uncle Henrik assures her all is well. "Because of you, Annemarie, everything is all right," he says. Then he sends her home.


One of the things this chapter highlights is the callousness of the soldiers. They have plenty, but still they steal from a child. Annemarie, as she faces them, continues to try to find courage and hopes she can reach her uncle's ship in time.

The soldiers' dogs are straining to reach her, and she has no idea what she is transporting in the basket. The handkerchief, revealed by the soldiers, is treated with something that has drawn the dogs. The soldier said his dogs smelled meat. When the soldier tears open the packet containing the handkerchief, "the dogs strained and snarled, pulling against their leashes." They are trying to reach the handkerchief because of the chemicals on it, chemicals that will prevent the dogs from picking up the scent of all the people who earlier walked along this path to the boat. The soldiers and Annemarie don't know this.

Once her encounter with the soldiers is over, Annemarie delivers the remaining food and that handkerchief to her uncle. When he sees the packet, knowing what it is, he lets her know that "all is well." She has delivered the method of tricking the soldiers.

This chapter is the culmination of the test of courage for Annemarie. Lowry has been building up to this event since the first chapter when Annemarie stood up to the soldiers that stopped her and Kirsti from running home from school. Here, that fast running pays off as it enables her to reach the harbor and deliver the handkerchief.

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