1977, Little, Brown & Company
Amidst the confusion of the German invasion of
On the fourth note the toe began to tap, and the dog rose to his hind legs and began to dance. The tune had a lilting rythym, and in perfect time he pirouetted in a circle, forepaws held out and head held high.
Slowly, MacLean begins to respect the fragile Ria's stubbornness, so like his own, and for the first time in his life forms an affection for an animal. But he has promised to return the dog to Sinclair and when the ship takes a brief rest from its work patrolling the supply convoys that are all that keeps
Burnford, best known for The Incredible Journey, surpasses herself here with a book that manages one of the harder tricks of fiction - putting a fictional personal story against the bitter background of war without taking away from either. Here, the tragedy of a small dog is given the same full consideration as the war; neither aspect of the plot detracts from the other. There is no sense of a dog's story cheapening the horror of war.
It's clear from the dedication of the book, quoted above, that Burnford regarded her book as being about the war, as well as her characters.
Reissued in 2006 by The New York Review Of Books Children's Collection
Bel/Ria - small male mixed-breed dog (probably terrier/poodle)
Louis - Capuchin monkey
Barkis - white male bull terrier
Hyacinthe - tortieshell female cat
Other books by Author
The Incredible Journey (1961)