Review Blog

Jun 21 2010

Herbert the Brave Sea Dog by Robyn Belton

cover image

Walker Books, 2010. ISBN 9781921529206
(Age 5+) Highly recommended. With his young owner, Tim, a small sea-loving dog named Herbert lived in Nelson, New Zealand. When Tim's father headed off to sea with his friends, Herbert leapt aboard the boat leaving the boy and his mother to drive and meet them at a cottage in the Marlborough Sounds. En route, a storm appeared at sea causing Herbert to lose his balance and fall into the ocean. Not until the boat had safely navigated through French Pass did the men realise the dog was missing. Unable to turn around, they continued their journey and shared the news with a distraught Tim. The following day, the young boy accompanied a local fisherman out to retrace his father's journey. Miraculously Herbert was discovered, exhausted but alive, following his thirty hour ordeal in the ocean.
This heart-warming story is based on fact, incorporating maps, excerpts of letters from well wishers, newspaper clippings and memorabilia about the event as part of the endpapers. The text is not excessive for young readers and the water colour illustrations capture the mood of the story extremely well. Although based on events which occurred some twenty years ago, this is a timeless tale. With highly accessible themes of family, friendship, perseverance and courage, this book would be highly recommended for readers from junior primary to considerably older pet lovers.
Jo Schenkel

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