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DINGO DOG AND THE BILLABONG STORM

Author: Andrew Fusek Peters

Illustrator: Anna Wadham

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Publisher: Child's Play, Ltd, 2010

Material: paperback

Summary: Dingo Dog is the local bully at the Australian Outback water hole. He does not share the water with the other animals (kangaroo, snake, lizards, kookaburra, etc.). They team up to trick Dingo Dog into thinking there's a BILLABONG STORM coming, and that he would need to be tied up to a tree to survive the storm. He falls for the trick and, his pride broken, promises to never come to the water hole again in exchange for his release. This is an illustrated folktale / fable written at a level for emergent readers.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, playtime reading, read aloud book, learning to read

Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 8; read yourself: 8 to 10

Interest Level: 3 to 9

Reading Level: 2.5

Age of Child: Read with boys ages 3 and 5.

Young Reader Reaction: I picked this book. My kids liked the book. It was not a favorite, but they sat and listened. After I read it, we talked about the lesson to be learned.

Adult Reader Reaction: I did not like the book. I usually am a big fan of fables, but Dingo Dog is just too nasty of a character for my taste, and probably too nasty for young kids (at least, mine ´┐½ we don´┐½t have bullying issues yet). I also did not care for the illustrations. While artistic and very stylized, they were a little extreme for me: Dingo Dog has red eyes, very pointy ears, and pronounced, sharp fangs (not just teeth, but fangs). The other animals are drawn with similar extremes, making them ´┐½sharp´┐½ instead of ´┐½soft and lovable.´┐½ For grades 1 to 3, that might not be an issue. What I DID like about this book was that there was a story about the consequences of being GREEDY and a BULLY. Also, the book introduced a group of animals outside of the typical American ´┐½elephant/cat/cow/horse/mouse´┐½ repertoire, so there was some cultural aspect to the book, as well.

Pros: Couched within this fable is information about Australian culture and lessons about greediness and bullying.

Cons: The stylized illustrations and strong characterizations may not well suited for children who frighten easily.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. I would not buy this, but I could see it as a book in a classroom library. I COULD see someone else buying it, though.

If You Liked This Book, Try: RABBIT COOKS UP A CUNNING PLAN   TELL ME A STORY 1: TIMELESS FOLKTALES FROM AROUND THE WORLD   SIKULU AND HARAMBE BY THE ZAMBEZI RIVER: An African Version of the Good Samaritan Story

Educational Themes: This is a book you can use to explore the fable genre with older kids and introduce/discuss Australian animals with younger kids. The themes of greed, bullying, and problem solving (did the animals take the right approach?) would also be good for discussions.

Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, animal characters, fables and folklore, cultures and tradition

Date(s) Reviewed: September 2010

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