Claire Saxby (text), Tannya Harricks (illus.), Dingo (Nature Storybooks), Walker Books Australia, 1 April 2018, 32pp., $24.99 (hbk), ISBN: 9781925381283
What a wonderful new addition to Walker Books’ award-winning Nature Storybooks series! Dingo’s faultless text, stunning illustrations and clever design all play their part to create a beautiful narrative non-fiction nature book that may well become a classic.
Consistent with other books in the series, author Claire Saxby’s text features two layers. The first is a lyrical narrative about a mother dingo’s hunt to support her five nine-week-old pups. The second presents facts in an expository writing style, about the life history of dingos. Each writing style appears in its own distinctive font, to appeal to a range of reading interests and abilities.
Can you see her?
This first sentence perfectly sets the scene, drawing readers into the world of the elusive dingo. Numerous references to the dingo’s senses – twitching ears, flashing eyes, snuffing nose and nudging body – bring extra action and tension into the narrative.
Fine artist Tannya Harricks’ moody oil painting illustrations perfectly convey the secretive nature of wild dingos as described in the text. Any one of these beautiful pictures would not look out of place on a gallery wall.
Dingo works on numerous levels; as an entertaining story, an informative account of how dingos live, and a promotion of the beauty and ecological importance of Australia’s fauna, flora and landscapes.
This book will appeal to fans of Australiana, art, animals and storytelling. It is well-suited to primary level STEM and literacy studies, and would work well as a comparison text paired with a traditional expository non-fiction book (e.g., Look Out for the Dingo! by Amy Austen).
Reviewed by Julie Murphy