MR. MILLER THE DOG by Helme Heine


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It has often been observed that a man and his dog sometimes come to resemble each other, but Heine carries the notion a step farther. In the beginning, Mr. Miller, a night watchman, lives with his dog Murphy, who fetches Mr. Miller's slippers, eats with him at the table (but chews on a bone instead of sharing the man's dinner), and generally shares his life. Gradually they come to look alike and then to envy each other's lives, until Mr. Miller finally gives in to Murphy's suggestion that they ""chance places."" And so we see Murphy in coat and hat, lunchbox handle between his teeth, going off to the watchman's job on all fours--and returning in the morning on two. For a while both man and dog are upright and equal, but gradually Mr. Miller becomes more and more like the old Murphy, gnawing on bones and, in the last picture, curling up in the dog basket as Murphy goes to sleep in the bed. Heine's casual sketches--line drawings with a touch of Thurber, highlighted by watercolor washes--include some very funny views of the transition. The book is suitably small, the offbeat idea properly proportioned, the performance by Mr. Miller and Murphy never overstated, always on cue.

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 1980
Publisher: Atheneum