Corinne Fenton (text), Andrew McLean (illus), Bob the Railway Dog, Black Dog Books/Walker Books Australia, 1 August 2015, 32pp., $24.95 (hbk), ISBN 9781922179890
The story of Bob the dog bound for a life with rabbit hunters, but singled out by by Will Ferry to be his companion during the early days of rail in South Australia, is a tale to touch the heartstrings and engage with complete nostalgia for the beauty of the outback in times past.
The outstanding illustrations could carry the story alone. The muted palette of the outback ,the gritty interiors of the steam trains and on every page, gallant and loyal Bob bringing joy into the lives of the communities of the fettlers, farmers, stokers and guards.
As this is a true story, it carries even more weight as an introduction to the exploration and expansion of the outback. The gently measured text perfectly augments the simply exquisite visuals making every page a delight and enticing younger readers to pause and reflect on times past and historical detail such as the Hawkesbury Bridge construction and the many fine stone stations both city and outback.
An outstanding book in every way.
Reviewed by Chris Dayman