THE DOG, RAY by Linda Coggin
Kirkus Star


Age Range: 9 - 14
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A 12-year-old girl dies and comes back to life as a dog while still remembering her previous life.

When Daisy Fellows dies suddenly in a car crash she finds herself inexplicably in the Job Center. (Her eyes—one green and one blue—are her “distinguishing features,” leading readers to infer she’s white.) “Heaven?…What an old-fashioned concept,” says the woman there, urging Daisy to sign a form before all the “qualified jobs” are taken. Narrator Daisy is perplexed until the woman explains, “You are a soul….Look at it as rehousing.” Daisy mistakenly goes out the left door, instead of the right as instructed, and finds her soul inhabiting a newborn puppy named Misty—with all her Daisy memories intact. Daisy/Misty’s dry humor entertains as she tries to make sense of her new existence. (Readers read human speech when Daisy/Misty speaks, but the humans in the story hear barking.) When Daisy/Misty, determined to find her human parents, runs away, she meets dark-haired, brown-eyed, white Pip, a 14-year-old runaway human boy who renames her Ray and is searching for his own father. As the two travel together, Ray gradually loses her memories of being Daisy and becomes more devoted and instinctual. Coggin’s subtle narrative transitions her protagonist from dog-inhabited-by-the-soul-of-a-girl to solely-dog with exquisite grace, leading to a wholly original homecoming theme.

A powerful story brought to heart-beating life by its cogent craftsmanship. (Fantasy. 9-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-7636-7938-5
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2016


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