‘The Dog, Ray’ by Linda Coggin Is a Middle Grade Novel about Life, Love and Dogs

“The Dog, Ray” by Linda Coggin explores the subject of reincarnation. When a twelve-year-old girl named Daisy dies in a car accident (quickly, no pain) she is accidentally reincarnated as a puppy.

Her first home is just as bad as it first seems to be. A spoiled boy named Cyril is given a puppy by his mother. Poor pup lives in the backyard, ignored by Cyril. And Daisy, who doesn’t follow directions, actually remembers her past life, so she is narrating the story as a twelve-year-old girl, not a dog.

When Daisy escapes from Cyril and meets Pip, a homeless boy, she finds out what love truly is. Their adventures together make up the bulk of the story, and while the happy ending is improbable, it’s lovely.

Along the way, Daisy finds herself in a shelter. Coggin handles the subject of dogs being killed in shelters tactfully and rather gently, but it’s there nonetheless — for readers to think about.

It’s truly the perfect book to read while cuddled next to a shelter dog, or two or three.

Please note: This review is based on the advance reader’s copy provided by the publisher, Candlewick Press, for review purposes.

Pamela Kramer

‚ÄčAnimal lover and rescuer. Lives with 4 cats, 4 dogs, 1 bird, 2 frogs and usually one foster animal (and very understanding husband). Reviews books (especially about animals) and educates children about compassion toward animals. Former household animals include rabbits, rats, and other assorted creatures. Also writes at pamelakramer.com