Review Blog

Dec 01 2009

Fearless by Colin Thompson

cover image

Ill. by Sarah Davis. ABC Books, 2009. ISBN 9780 733320253
(Ages 3-7) This delightful picture book will have kids, parents and teachers laughing out loud as the antics of the new dog, Fearless take hold of them while reading this story. Thompson starts his story with vignettes of names not suiting the people who have them, and so we know that the name Fearless is a misnomer. Taken home from the Adopt a Pet store, Fearless is shown around the house in a variety of scenarios which belie the name he has been given.He jumps into his owner's arms when a car backfires and does so himself. He growls at the visitor's handbag until the nasty thing is hidden from view. He cannot bear to do his business outside and loves to eat the biscuits from the baby. All the while he is aware that it is his job to protect his family.
One night when a burglar calls, Fearless tries to greet him with his smile, showing off all his teeth. He tells the burglar that he is not allowed on the table with his growls and grunts and when his father comes downstairs the burglar races off without saying goodbye. The difference between the reality and what Fearless thinks is happening is very funny and instantly recognisable to all readers.
The water colour illustrations are superb, capturing the difference between what is said and what it really happening. The dog is portrayed with heavenly expressions, meek and mild, pleading and scared, excited and happy. The pages on which the dog has made a mess in the house are beautifully done, the looks in the dog's face redolent with meaning and I loved the drawings of the dog wound around his owner's legs. But these are only a couple out of many drawn with humour, movement and panache. A charming story full of wit, underlining the family and its relationship with their pet, this will be a hit wherever children are to be found.
A small jarring point is the complete use of the 32 page format, putting the publication page and the last page of the story together. But this will not detract from the sheer enjoyment of the story and the illustrations.
Fran Knight

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