Older readers who enjoyed Pamela S. Turner's picture book Hachiko: The True Story of a Loyal Dog
, illus. by Yan Nascimbene (reviewed May 17) will want to delve into Newman's (Cats! Cats! Cats!
) novel about a dog's devotion to his owner. Her many details about Tokyo and passages of dialogue give life and heft to the tale, while Kodaira's blocky pen-and-ink drawings add genuine Japanese touches—street signs, clothing and interiors. In the opening chapters, the author gives readers a glimpse of the daily routine of Professor Ueno, who teaches at Tokyo Imperial University, and his beloved pet, Hachi the Akita (a husky-like breed). Every afternoon, the pooch waits for his master's 3:00 arrival at Tokyo's Shibuya train station. When the professor dies unexpectedly, Hachi continues to arrive at the station each day for his master's train, expecting him to return. Befriended and fed by a boy named Yasuo, the dog waits daily on the platform for his master until his own death 10 years later. The Station Master's words offer Yasuo consolation about Hachiko's reunion with his master ("There is a special train to bring those who have obtained Enlightenment up to Heaven. Every day for the past ten years, Professor Ueno has met this special train to see if his beloved Akita-ken
is on it"). As these two versions attest, the story holds enduring fascination for animal lovers. Ages 8-up. (Oct.)