Favel Parrett, Wandi, Hachette Australia, September 2021, 256 pp., RRP $19.99 (hbk), ISBN 9780734420633
For readers who enjoyed Pax by Sara Pennypacker, about a young boy and his love for a small, orphaned fox, they will find an equally compelling and beautifully written story in Wandi. Told from the point of view of a young dingo pup called Little One, we meet him snuggling with his family in a den in the snowy alpine region of Australia. His parents teach him how to hunt for food but also warn him that the most dangerous thing of all is the Human, who kill them. When Little One becomes separated from his family, he is found by a human and fears for his life. Eventually, he realises not all humans want dingoes dead and that some are working hard to protect them.
After volunteering at a dingo sanctuary, Favel came up with the idea for Wandi, her first kids’ book. Written with sparse, perfectly pitched language, it draws the reader in with its quiet voice and gentle plea for all of us to protect these unique and precious creatures. At the back readers will find fascinating facts about alpine dingoes and a Q & A with the author.
Illuminating, fascinating and deeply moving. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by Deborah Abela