BRAXTON-SMITH, Ananda Plenty Black Dog, 2014 139pp $14.95 pbk ISBN 9781742032429 SCIS 1671936
Ten year old Maddy is terribly angry because her parents have decided that the family will move from their inner city house to a rural place called Plenty. The author describes Maddy’s attachment to her neighbourhood and friends in deeply personal terms. We are given a sense of Maddy’s identity being connected to her surroundings with ‘She was Maddy Frank, Keeper of the Street and Queen of the Back Lane. Friend to Dogs. Runner of the Fence Line’. Her territory is Jermyn Street in inner city Melbourne. Then ‘The moment they’d told her, she’d become nobody. Maddy Frank, Homeless Person.’ Her parents have valid reasons for the move – to be near Nana Mad who is getting old and also to give Maddy the chance to grow up near farms, mountains and trees. How will she survive without her friend Sophie-Rose who was born on the same day and had been her best friend ever since? The feelings of isolation and homesickness run deep and Maddy takes time to settle into Plenty. Her journey brings her delights and frustrations, new interests and a new friend who might just understand what it means to be uprooted and relocated unexpectedly but on a much more profound level. The ending balances the themes and ends hopefully. A well written story for middle and upper primary readers.
reviewed by Julie Long