Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Bel Ria - a bookwrap


A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself.

~Josh Billings~

     In times of war dogs were great companions and helpers to the troops who were so far away from home and their loved ones.  They provided comfort, companionship, loyalty, love and entertainment to our soldiers who were subjected to unspeakable horrors and catastrophic devastation daily. The dogs boosted moral and were a loving reminder that the world was not all evil.



     This is an amazing book authored by Sheila Burnford and brought to life again by The New York Review Children's Collection.  She is the author of "The Incredible Journey" that was made into a heart-warming, live-action movie by Disney in 1961.  

     This book will capture your heart and will bring you to tears as you experience the life of an innocent little dog during the Second World War.  He travels as part of a gypsy band with an older couple, a pet monkey and a decrepit donkey, entertaining anyone who will stop to watch their antics for a mere pittance.  They are desperately fleeing from the Nazi advance when suddenly tragedy strikes and he is left alone and must fend for himself. He attaches himself to a wounded soldier and is taken on board a Royal Navy ship that is heading to England. He becomes the ship's mascot and wins the hearts of many of the sailors.  He is dubbed with the name Ria and is truly loved and respected by all.  

     Unfortunatley he is marooned in England in the midst of the Blitz and stumbles upon an old woman who is trapped in rubble from her bombed house and he rescues her.  She is so grateful and takes the abandoned, pathetic, orphan in, feeds him healthy food, pampers him, and he lives in luxury with her.  Being very old herself he makes the perfect companion and she lovingly gives him the name Bel. They both need each other and are inseparable.

     Miraculously Bel's interaction with all the people he meets  changes their lives for the better and strong bonds of friendship and love are created.  If you are a dog lover and have a tender heart towards animals then this is the perfect story to ingest and savour.  It is a magical story that will remain in your heart long after you have closed the book.  I highly, highly recommend it.

About the author

Sheila Burnford (1918–1984) was born in Scotland and emigrated to Canada in the 1950s. Her first novel, The Incredible Journey, was a modest success when it was first published in 1961, but became a best seller after it adapted for film by the Walt Disney Company in 1963 and again in 1993 (as Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey). Burnford followed up her novel with three books of non-fiction, including One Woman’s Arctic, an account of her activities (dog sledding among them) on the Canadian Arctic island of Baffin, and two books for young readers. In 1978 she published Bel Ria (1978), her final book, which drew on her experience as a volunteer ambulance driver during World War II.

Read on and read always!

It's a wrap.

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