Rugby & Rosie

Nan Rossiter, Author Dutton Books $14.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-525-45484-7
In a heart-tugging debut, Rossiter imagines the emotions of a boy who raises a guide-dog puppy for one year, until it is old enough for intensive training. The narrator and his family already have a grown dog, a chocolate Lab named Rugby, when golden retriever Rosie arrives. ""She loved everyone in the family-even Rugby!"" It takes Rugby a while to warm up to the newcomer, but soon he is as smitten as the boy. When it comes time for Rosie to leave, the unhappy boy consoles Rugby (""I wanted to explain everything, but I knew he couldn't understand""), and even takes Rugby to Rosie's guide-dog ""graduation."" The author emphasizes the distinction between family pet and seeing-eye dog when Rosie, though delighted to see Rugby, will not leave her new, blind owner's side: ""She was a working dog now with an important job to do."" Rossiter concentrates on the narrator's conflicted feelings, never minimizing his grief, and does not anthropomorphize the animals. Her otherwise realistic illustrations, however, drenched in autumnal hues and elegiac golden light, bespeak a deep and unrequited nostalgia-perfect for lovers of dog stories that mix in just a touch of rue. Ages 5-9. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
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