When Loa’s childhood friend marries a stranger from another tribe, he is frustrated and angry at being stuck between childhood and manhood. Determined to find a wife—and a life—of his own, Loa casts off in his canoe with only with a knife, some water and a ‘rubbish dog’ to offer to hungry sharks—or eat if he runs out of food. At first Loa is filled only with disdain for the dog. However, when trouble hits, and Loa and the dog are carried to the shores of a great southern land, they grow to need each other. Dingo: The Dog Who Conquered a Continent is told, in modern language, from the alternating viewpoints of the boy and dog. It is beautifully and simply written by Jackie French (Macbeth and Son, Hitler’s Daughter), whose prose is always masterful. French has brought the history of early Australian culture to life—but the story itself is compelling. It is the kind of tale that will stay with younger readers, and is bound to encourage further study. Part of the ‘Animal Stars’ series, Dingo is well suited to readers aged nine to 13.
Rebecca Butterworth is a freelance writer and book reviewer living in Melbourne. This review first appeared in the Junior Term 1 supplement of Bookseller+Publisher Magazine. View more pre-publication reviews here.