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A Little Dog Like You by Rosemary SutcliffToday’s diary entry about her dog Barny put me in mind of the little book Rosemary Sutcliff published a years earlier, in 1987, A Little Dog Like You. Kirkus reviews wrote at the time of publication in the USA in 1990:

After Pippin, a beloved Chihuahua, dies, he begs St. Francis to let him go back to his beloved mistress, Mammie–who, hoping that her faithful friend will return, manages to puzzle out the time and place of their joyful reunion. Though the plot sounds trite, Sutcliff’s skillful pen turns the story to gold–an unsentimental portrait of an affectionate bond that will be familiar to any dog lover, while the difficulty posed by the painful discrepancy between the life spans of dog and human is resolved with a reincarnation that is both metaphorical and realistic: the new dog is not precisely Pippin–he has new markings and is given a new name–but he does represent a continuation of love. The format is as engagingly diminutive, as Pippin himself; Johnson’s precise, gentle  illustrations add just the right touch. A well-wrought charmer.

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Rosemary Sutcliff  was a children’s writer and historical novelist who believed in re-incarnation. She told me , as she did other people, that she once found herself telling someone who suggested that perhaps Roman soldiering would be her fate in a future life that “she had already had enough of soldiering”. She believed in it for animals too, including her own. Hence her book  A Little Dog Like You (1987), in which a woman whose beloved small dog has died finds him again when he is reborn in the body of a new puppy.

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