Wild Dog, 2022
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
Sadly, our youngest readers are becoming all too familiar with emergency vehicles as they rush around the cities and the countryside in these times of floods and fire and other devastating events. For many, it is the sight of those familiar uniforms that bring relief and hope as well as help.
In this rhyming story with its bold, colourful pictures, young readers discover that there are many more vehicles in the fleet beyond the usual fire trucks, police cars and ambulances as they are introduced to jet skis, helicopters, water bombers, drones and even the RFDS as each plays a unique role in particular situations from clifftop rescues to getting people off their rooftops.
However, as entertaining and engaging as the book is, it is the teachers’ notes that really add extra value as they guide both parents and teachers through raising the issues of “what if” with their young children including keeping themselves and their pets safe; the role of 000 and when to use it; knowing what to do in case of a fire, being lost, and other critical situations they might find themselves; and preparing for a disaster. Simple things like knowing your name, address and phone number to tell a police officer, or having a password that must be said if a stranger talks to you can be life-saving but can also be neglected as we hope they’re never needed. While the story itself touches on calling 000 it is these additional activities that open up essential conversations in a non-threatening scenario that add depth and make this book a valuable addition to a family’s safety preparations. Even moreso because its focus is on the familiar vehicles and people that we see in Australia.
Hopefully, like learning CPR, there is never a need for them to use their knowledge but as the saying goes, better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.