The Dog, Ray

Written by Linda Coggin

A girl who is reincarnated as a dog, a homeless boy, a search for family, and a journey fraught with perils and mishaps, this summarizes The Dog, Ray by Linda Coggin. The story is written in a simplistic style that addresses some tough issues; homelessness, violence, and even life after death, but in a more superficial fashion. It is a good book for older elementary and middle school students because the vocabulary is not too challenging and while the subject matter is serious, Coggin weaves a lyrical, yet subtle story.
This is a fast read and a unique story. The main character, Daisy, dies in an accident, ends up in soul reassignment, and is given a new “job” as a dog. Daisy, bi-eyed in life is also bi-eyed as a dog. The story is told through her perspective as the dog, Ray. Daisy, as Ray, develops over the course of story, becoming more outspoken and brave. As an adult reader, I found the story one dimensional. All of the loose ends were wrapped up too neatly and unrealistically. I expected to feel more of an emotionally connection with the characters, but the over-simplistic narrative kept me at arm’s length.
If you love dogs and want an easy read/feel good story, then The Dog, Ray is the perfect choice.

Review by Stephanie Garahana, Hunter High School Media Center
Rating: ★★½✩✩ (2.5 stars)
Interest Level: 5th-8th Grade

The Dog Ray
Written by Linda Coggin
Candlewick Press
193 pages
Release Date: November 8, 2016 (USA)
A review copy was provided by the publisher.

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