Review Blog

Jun 03 2019

Cheeky dogs to Lake Nash and back by Dion Beasley and Johanna Bell

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2019. ISBN: 9781760528119.
(Age: 9+) Cheeky Dogs to Lake Nash and back is the third book by Dion Beasley and Johanna Bell. It follows Dion's life from the walking journey to his birth to when he returns to Lake Nash (his mother's home town) as an adult. The text has a poetic spin to it, and after a few pages I could almost hear Dion reading it to me. His illustrations really add so much life and interest to this book, which would not be the same without them.
It is a different type of memoir, being a picture book, however Dion's illustrations of the communities he moves through, including maps and houses, provide additional information that help us to piece together his story. I loved hearing about life in Tennant Creek from the perspective of a young person.
We enjoyed the slight repetition throughout the story which seems to add a narrative element, bringing my youngest listener in (5 years old), whilst the understanding that it is someone's life story captivated the 9 year old.
Johanna Bell, who has worked with Dion (who is profoundly deaf) to create these stories has really done a wonderful job piecing together both Dion's life story, plus showing his love for those cheeky dogs.
I am a sucker for a true story which is probably why I really enjoyed this one, however my son loved the drawings (he is a keen illustrator himself) and my daughter was there for all those cheeky dogs!
Although I had one younger listener, I think this memoir would be best aimed at students 9 years and above, and would be a great addition to a curriculum based lesson.
Lauren Fountain

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