Sunday, November 6, 2016

Review - The Dog Ray by Linda Coggin

The Dog, Ray by Linda Coggin
Candlewick Press
Publication Date: November 1, 2016
Date Read:  October 29, 2016
Source: NetGalley

By turns humorous, poignant, and moving, this tale of a girl who comes back to Earth as a dog is a nuanced portrait of death, love, grief, and hope.

When my death came it was swift. Swift as a running horse. It wasted no time.

Daisy, age twelve, has died in a car accident. She finds herself in the afterworld, which resembles nothing more than a job center. Her soul is being returned to Earth, but not as a human being—she’s returning as a dog. A dog who retains Daisy’s thoughts and pluck and is determined to get back to her parents and to get back home. What she doesn’t expect is that life as a dog named Ray would come with such worries—and moments of jubilation—as she grows to care for others in a whole new way. Told in a compelling first-person voice, Linda Coggin’s incredible novel touches on loyalty and freedom, connection and acceptance, and is sure to stay with readers long after the story is done.
My Review

It has been almost forever since I picked up a book written for middle grade children.  I decided to grab this one largely because of the awesome cover and the fact that I am a complete nut when it comes to dogs didn't hurt.  This ended up being a nice quick read that I think a lot of readers will really enjoy.

I was a little worried that this was going to be a sad book since the dog in the book was a little girl until she died but it really wasn't at all.  We don't get to know Daisy until she dies in the accident and the afterworld was honestly a bit odd.  The way that her transformation from little girl to dog was handled wasn't emotional.  If anything, I felt Daisy's confusion about what was happening.

I did feel poorly for the dog in her first home where she isn't really treated as a member of the family.  She is kept outside tied to a doghouse and really doesn't get a lot of quality time.  She remembers her life as Daisy and wants to see her parents.  She dreams of finding them.  The only person that really treats her well is the homeless man at the park, Jack, who talks to her and pets her when he can.

When she finally gets the opportunity to escape, she does and finds her place with Pip, a homeless boy.  Pip names her Ray and the story really takes off.  These two have an incredible bond and it was nice to see how much they truly cared for each other.  Pip and Ray embark on a journey to find Pip's father and hopefully a home. 

This book had a lot of great moments.  I liked the fact that it was told from the perspective of the dog, Ray.  There were a lot of interesting characters and a few heartfelt scenes.  I would recommend this story to middle grade readers that love a good animal story.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Candlewick Press via NetGalley.

About the Author

Linda Coggin taught horseback riding in the West Indies before studying mime in Paris and Czechoslovakia and then becoming an actor and television presenter. She is now an author of poetry and books for young people and lives in Wiltshire, England, with her family and many animals.

Author Links: Website | Twitter

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