Nov 20 2015
My dog Bigsy by Alison Lester
Allen & Unwin, 2015. ISBN 9780670078936
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. Farm animals, Dogs, Friendship, Routine. When Bigsy gets up in the morning, he wanders around the farm greeting and being greeted by all the animals he sees. He chases the cockatoos, sends the kangaroos back over the fence, talks to the horses, herds the ducks to the dam, runs around the cows who do not move at all, chases the sheep, something he is not supposed to do, plays with his friends Slinky, and so on, back to the farmhouse, and as his friend is getting up for the day, he goes back to bed, tired out from all his exertions.
I love the endpapers with the maps of the animals Bigsy will meet on his morning excursion. They place the animals in the minds of the readers.
Each delightful double page shows Bigsy with one set of animals. He barks or woofs or makes some sort of noise at the animal he is with and they respond in a like way, showing readers the sorts of nosies these animals make. He plays with them in some way or other, showing again the nature of the animal he is dealing with. On his way around the farm, younger readers will get to know the animals found on a farm, something about them and the noise that they make, all within the context of a dog's walk. Each double page will encourage a reader to question. Why do the kangaroos need to be over the fence? Why do the hens not able to tell how many eggs they have laid? Why does the pig tell Bigsy off?
Lester has used her familiar watercolour technique to present the story to the readers and has included cut out material as some parts of the background, adding texture and interest. What a wonderful way to introduce farm animals to younger children, and I can imagine classes reading this book out loud, gleefully practising the noises made by Bigsy and the animals he meets, taking to heart the all encompassing affection between the dog and his owner as they swap their places in her bed, adding a kernel of humour on which the book is ended.