Review Blog

Jun 02 2016

Mrs Dog by Janeen Brian

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Ill. by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall. Five Mile Press, 2016. ISBN 9781760066451
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Animals. Dogs. Families. Courage. An ailing lamb in the paddock is found by Mrs Dog and her farmer, Tall-One as they survey the mob of sheep. Tall-One tells the dog to leave it but Mrs Dog takes the lamb back to her basket at the homestead. Here she looks after the ailing lamb and Tall-Two gives it some spare milk. With all this help, the baby animal, Baa-rah thrives until it is time for Mrs Dog to teach it how to be a farm dog. She is at the end of her working life so needs a well trained dog to take her place. But this one does not seem to take to the instructions of belly crawl and beg or pounce, and is even worse when being taught to bark. Readers will laugh out loud at Mrs Dog's attempts to teach the lamb, but on the very next page, danger lurks. Mrs Dog, on returning to the farm, is attacked by Beaky-Wing and falls over the dangerous cliff she has warned Baa-rah to avoid. Baa-rah realises that something has happened to Mrs Dog when she does not return and goes to great lengths to get help from the farmer, finally doing something that Mrs Dog has tried unsuccessfully to teach, to attract Tall-One's attention.
This is a charming story of love and courage, of the links between all animals, of caring for something in need. In helping the lamb survive, the old farm dog has that favour returned when she needs help later on.
Our interdependence is made clear through the story of the farm dog and the stray lamb and children will be enthralled to read of how the selfless act of the dog not only saved the lamb's life, but also her own.
Fran Knight

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