And when I’m making tunnels, my dog is really inconvenient…
But there are some times when the dog is not inconvenient and sometimes when there is no other source of comfort, particularly as the day draws to a close and dinner is disgusting, television is scary and it’s time to snuggle down to dream.
This is a quintessential picture book where neither text nor pictures can make sense without the other. As we follow the child through the day, the text is minimal but the pictures tell the story so well, creating lots of laugh-out-loud moments as scenes familiar to anyone with a dog, particularly a young one, are played out with a detail that means there is no need for additional words. This would be a great bedtime read-aloud where parent and child could share it together, talking about their own experiences. (My dog is inconvenient when it’s bedtime and I want the pillow but she is very convenient when we need to put the chooks away at night!)
But as well as its entertainment value, it also has an educational one particularly for the early reader because it encourages them to search the pictures for clues, interpret and explain them so the story make sense and forms a whole.. Putting on my reading teacher’s hat of days gone by, I can picture myself using this delightful book with some of my little characters who were struggling with sorting out this reading thing. As well as the value with the text/illustration relationship and having them talk and draw about their own dogs, it would also help them understand that they CAN read ‘real’ books just like their friends, overcoming the negative thoughts they impose on themselves about never succeeding. Imagine the thrill of being able to take it home and really read it so your listener listens, not to mention having mastered a roll-off-the- tongue word like “inconvenient”! (Miss 3 loved her new word!)
One to promote to your early childhood teachers as well as your parent body.
Douglas Mawson is one of Australia’s most iconic heroes. As the leader of the first Australian expedition to the Antarctic a century ago, his journeys are commemorated through having his portrait on the $100 note, a suburb in Canberra named after him and the longest continuously operating station south of the Antarctic Circle bearing his name, Douglas Mawson deserves a place in this series of books which celebrates great Australians.
The story of his remarkable journey which began in Hobart in December 1911 is told is simple, straightforward text which is perfect for its intended audience of younger students just starting to learn about the people who have helped build our nation. Accompanied by illustrations that use a limited colour palette, reminiscent of the colours of Antarctica itself, and which capture the beauty and drama of the landscape so well, it tells of the challenges of this incredible expedition undertaken long before there was mechanised transport or navigational devices such as a GPS. The timeline at the end of the book provides a summation of this man’s amazing life and contribution to Australia’s continuing presence in Antarctica.
This series fits neatly into the history strand of the Australian National Curriculum for Years 3-4, its picture book format adding to its appeal. Written in a way that draws the reader into a story rather than just a series of facts and figures, this is a perfect introduction to the topic that teaches as it tells. Others in the collection include Ned Kelly, James Cook, Mary MacKillop and the ANZACs. It is so good to see publishers responding to the need and demand for non-fiction that not only addresses the requirements of the Australian Curriculum at an appropriate level but which satisfies those readers who, from an early age, already show a preference for informative books that offer them more than just pictures to look at and interpret. I’m looking forward to the next in the series which focuses on Nancy Bird Walton!