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                            ~Minette Lauren

 A story to steal your heart... Reviewed in the United States on April 22, 2020 A great reincarnation story about pets for all reading ages. This story made me think about my nephew, who has his first beloved dog. Losing something you love is one of the hardest parts about living, but the gift of what love brings to our lives makes it all worth it. Miley, a feisty little Terrier, and Ebony, a black and tan dachshund will steal your heart as you learn about Annie and Stewart's love for their small pets. Like most loving canines, they get into all kinds of mischief, but the final stroke of bad luck is a misfortune of grief and misery for the entire family. I loved the warmth of the story, the loving characters and the explanation of the gift of life. Because of my own beliefs in reincarnation and the stories I write, I was drawn to, The Dogs Who Came Back From Heaven. I wanted to see what path the author would take in explaining the exit and re-entrance to our lives. Helene Minto does an amazing job of weaving a warm tale full of heart and hope. Don't miss the collection of quotes at the end of the book. There are many enlightening sources to discover on the subject. Well written and well received, I hope to see more life adventures from this author! 






                            ~Dallas Reader

This based-on-a-true-story book shares the loss and reincarnation of a family’s two beloved dogs. Teens and adults alike will appreciate the love for animals and respect for their souls expressed in this story. This would also be a lovely gift for a friend who has lost a beloved pet. 







A beautiful, thought provoking story that both children and adults can enjoy. I loved that the author included photos of the dogs in the book, it created such a nice personal touch.





                            ~ Morgan

I really appreciated how this book dealt with difficult subjects like death, grief, and the afterlife in a way that children can understand. Too often nowadays parents will shelter their children from things they should be exposed to (like death and grief), and expose them to the things that shouldn't. The mom character especially was super admirable in the way she didn't shield her children from the death of their pets, but helped them cope by creating a wake for the dog with candles, and holding a funeral. She didn't hide the bodies from the children but wrapped them up in a blanket and let them say goodbye to their furry friends one last time. These practices help children to be less afraid of death and whats more they foster respect for life. I thought it was neat how the themes came full circle in the narrative in the form of the little girl who, spoiler alert, was adopted from France and separated from her twin at the orphanage. The mother teaches her children that two people who love each other are meant to be together, and they will always find a way back to each other no matter what. Not only does this principle manifest itself in the reincarnation of both dogs, but in the way that the little girl finally receives contact from her twin's family in the end, and the two are reunited. It really helped drive the point home, and made the story come full circle. I'm a huge dog lover, and I straight-up got teary-eyed when the dogs died. It should also be said that this is not your typical canine literature about a dog who dies (as in Where The Red Fern Grows, Marley and Me, and Old Yeller)--no, this offers so much more in the way it opens up the floor for conversations about life after death. Plus, the dogs come back in the end! I also really liked how the author included descriptive details about Australia and its wildlife. I live in the United States and have never been to Australia, so it was really cool to read about things like the black cockatoos and how they chirp when a storm is coming. Lots of the descriptions were very beautiful and artistic without being flowery, which is perfect for a children's book. Overall, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who's ever had to grieve over a lost pet, and for anyone trying to teach their kids about difficult subjects like death and the after-life.






                            ~Chris Brady

With a title like “The Dogs Who Came Back From Heaven”, I expected this young readers’ novel to be a tearjerker, and while it certainly had its emotional moments, I was pleasantly surprised by the humor within the story. I don’t believe Helene Minto wrote this to be intentionally funny, but she described the main characters and their dogs so vividly that I couldn’t help but laugh as I envisioned them getting into their misadventures, and think of my own experiences as a child with dogs who were so eager to please. 


I believe this story was semi-autobiographical, and it was funny to read how each dog’s personality was so matched up with their human, almost as they inherited the mannerisms of their child. Miley was a bouncy, lively terrier who was the perfect fit for the frenetic and fun-loving Annie, and neither child or dog seemed to ever slow down. Stuart on the other hand, was more subdued and serious, and his little “sausage dog” Ebony was more than happy to follow suit and maintain a calming presence (at least as much as you could hope from a naturally curious dog!)


One of my favorite things about this story was the way Mom handled the unfortunate passing of each dog, not only by how she gave the children time to mourn in their own way, but also the tribute she performed upon each dog’s death (no spoilers here, read the book!). If Minto herself handled the deaths of her children’s dogs the same way, than she needs to be awarded Mother of the Year for her compassion and resourcefulness.

The concept of reincarnation is a tough one, and I imagine it is a difficult one to explain in depth to young children without confusing  them or insulting their intelligence, but Mom (and by proxy, Minto) does so with finesse and reassurance, without sounding silly or out of character. 


I won’t call it a twist, but there is a reveal at the end of this story, and it gave me goosebumps in the best possible way. It truly wrapped up this whole story in a nice little bow, and made for a very satisfactory ending. 


This story was a quick read, it had minimal pictures showcasing key elements of the story, and it was full of very descriptive imagery by way of adjectives and strong figures of speech. As a former third grade teacher, I can say this is the perfect story for children of that age, because it fosters comfort in readers who are still searching for their strengths with chapter books, while simultaneously delicately handling a very touchy subject that many kids that age deal with. 

I was very fortunate to develop a professional friendship with Helene Minto prior to reading her book, but even if I did not briefly get to know her first, this is still a book I would have looked forward to reading, simply based on the subject content, and I believe many other animal lovers will do the same. I have already recommended it to a few of my teacher friends to add to their classroom libraries, and personally would rate this book 5 out of 5 stars!

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