The Dog, Ray

Written by Linda Coggin

In the first sentence, the main character dies. Funny stuff.

Daisy (the girl who dies) goes through a sort of employment office and becomes a puppy. The thing is, she passes through the wrong door and retains all her knowledge of being a girl. She also retains her heterochromia, having two different colors of eyes. Some think of that as a spirit dog. When she’s adopted by a not-very-kindly family, she spends all her time tied to a doghouse plotting her escape. Eventually, she does escape and attaches herself to a homeless boy and a kindly old man. The boy, Pip, treats her well and renames her Ray. Ray, in turn, helps Pip find his family and get a good start in life. They find both good and bad people along the way. Pip and Ray form a strong bond.

The author presents a lot of philosophy and a lot about the nature of death and transmigration of the soul. If desired, this could start a great discussion about death and religion in general. Do dogs have souls? Do they dream about the things the author claims? Are other animals really afraid of spirit dogs?

Whether or not dogs really think like the author says, they should.

I can see a piece of toast someone must have dropped under the next table and has escaped Maisie’s sharp eye. I begin, very slowly, to inch myself toward it. Elbow. Elbow. Foot. Foot. Body. Mmmm.


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  • the-dog-rayTitle: The Dog, Ray
  • Author: Linda Coggin
  • Published: Candlewick Press, 2016
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 208 pages
  • Grade Level: 5 up
  • Genre: Fiction, philosophy
  • ISBN: 978-0-7636-7938-5



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