Lauren Smith (text) and Ana Mikulic (illustrator), Awesome Aussie Dogs, Australian Geographic, October 2019, 32 pp., RRP $16.95 (hbk), ISBN 9781925847581
Awesome Aussie Dogs compiles a varied selection of fifty stories of Australian dogs that have done awesome things. There is faithful kelpie Ginger Meggs who shepherded a flock of sheep to the stockyards all on his own; Sarbi the heroic explosive detection dog who worked in Afghanistan, and Charlie the golden retriever with the loudest recorded bark, just to name a few.
Suitable for middle-aged to older readers, the stories are short and independent to each other so the book can be enjoyed piecemeal and in no particular order. Each story is accompanied with an illustration of the featured dog, and sometimes a photo. The format would suit a whole class/shared reading – with individual students reading one story about a particular dog.
The stories share a common theme of the special bond between dogs and humans. Whilst the cover and title may initially appeal to dog-loving children, I think even children less interested in the subject will be touched by the admirable qualities of the featured dogs. And for those reluctant readers, a very accessible, appealing and informative book.
Reviewed by Julie Bertola