I've tried to blog a number of times. Never managed to get it going. But now thanks to Adele at Persnickety Snark and Judith at Misrule, I think I might have worked out what I was doing wrong. I wasn't talking about what I love to talk about. I was trying to be interesting and failed miserably. From now on it's Kids Lit. I am a parent, a reader, a reviewer and an author. Kids literature is in my blood from the moment I get up and hunt for the library book to be returned until I go to bed having bashed out a few more pages for my latest book.
So I'm going to start with a review. This is a book I particularly liked for four reasons - it has a wonderful sense of Australiana, I read-tested it on a kid and he loved it, I am a country girl at heart and as an author I hope I can one day write a picture book like this.
The Dog on the Tuckerbox by Corinne Fenton. Illustrated by Peter Gouldthorpe. black dog books, Picture Book Hardback rrp $24.99
This is an iconic Australian tale of the bush handled exactly as it deserves to be – with a strong sense of history and pride in our pioneer past.
Bill is a bullock driver, bringing supplies and news to the settlers in remote bush areas. Lady is his constant and loyal companion – a little dog with a huge heart. When a stray bull charges, Lady is quick to defend Bill. She almost dies. But Lady is a survivor and with Bill’s tender care, pulls through.
When the wagon is bogged and an axle breaks, Bill goes to get help. He sits Lady on the tuckerbox and tells her to keep watch and to wait for him. And she does, even though Bill never returns. Passers by feed her and still she maintains her post, as faithful and patient as ever.
The language is simple but beautiful, evocative of the bush and a time long ago. At times it is almost haunting but always just right for little ears. In and out of the homesteads and all along the winding tracks, Lady left her footprints.
Peter Gouldthorpe’s illustrations are lifelike and again, there is a wonderful sense of history. The pages look and feel as if they were painted centuries ago. They transport the reader back to the days of bush and bullocky, Lady and Bill.
In 1932 a monument of a dog sitting on a tuckerbox was erected five miles from Gundagai. Now we have the full story…
Recommended classroom, bedtime and anytime reading.