Showing posts with label Dianne Wolfer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dianne Wolfer. Show all posts

Sunday, 12 August 2018

The dog with seven names

The dog with seven names by Dianne Wolfer, (Random House) PB RRP $16.99 ISBN: 9780143787457

Reviewed by Pauline Hosking

A puppy is born on a cattle station in the Pilbara. The runt of the litter, she is cared for by Elsie, the daughter of the station owner, and receives her first name – Princess. In February 1942, with the Japanese air raids moving closer, the family leave the Pilbara and go south for safety leaving Princess in the care of a kind drover. Later Princess (now named Flynn) flies with the Flying Doctor Service and stays in Port Hedland hospital, calming and giving courage to those hurt and in danger. The little golden-eyed dog, a cross between an Australian terrier and a dingo, has many adventures and is renamed many times before reuniting with Elsie.

The book gives well-researched information about the Japanese raids on Darwin, Wyndham and Broome. There’s also mention of the secret airstrip constructed at Corunna Downs by the US Army.

Events are related by Princess in the first person. According to Dianne Wolfer’s acknowledgements, The dog with seven names was one of two creative works accompanying research into anthropomorphism in Australian children’s literature. While much of what Princess recounts seems in keeping with a doggy view of the world, some of her wider understanding of places and events is problematic. However, this will not worry young readers who will enjoy the tale of a cute and brave animal in a time of war.

The author supplies a detailed timeline connecting World War II events to the story and some pages of additional historical information. These make the book a valuable classroom resource for students studying recent Australian History.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Annie’s Snails

Annie’s Snails by Dianne Wolfer, illustrated by Gabriel Evans (Walker Books)
PB RRP $11.95
ISBN 9781921720635
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Annie loves the glistening snail trails that lead to her beloved pets. She collects snails, takes them to her cubby house to play with, and names them. But can snails live in a plastic ice cream container?

Annie discovers many things about snails, their needs and their environment. A lesson is learnt when she has to make a major decision about freeing them so they can live.

This story is a terrific example for young children on rules about keeping living things in confined spaces. It is presented in three short stories ideal for early readers. Its outdoor theme encourages play in the natural world and will certainly create discussion about how things in nature live and survive.

The delightful black and white illustrations reflect Annie’s dilemma beautifully alongside the sorrow and acceptance of her final decision.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Light Horse Boy

Light Horse Boy by Diane Wolfer, illustrated by Brian Simmonds (Fremantle Press)
HB RRP $19.95
ISBN 9-781-922-089-199
Reviewed by Neridah McMullin

In 1914 Jim and Charlie abandon the Australian outback for the excitement and adventure of the war to end all wars. But in the Light Horse they quickly discover the brutal realities of life on the frontline. And nothing will ever be the same again.
Light Horse Boy is a beautifully crafted book encompassing a culturally significant Australian story that is little known but deserves to be so much more. It’s a behind the scenes look at the legendary Light Horse Brigade and their experiences in World War I.

The story itself is delightfully well written but it’s the engaging and fascinating layout that combines text with primary source historical documents and letters, telegrams, original photos and stunning charcoal sketches done by Brian Simmonds that really grabs you. It has the intimate feel of scrapbook and it’s a story to take your time over. A story to be pored over.

Brian’s artwork is very expressive and you’ll find yourself riding on every emotion that these boys experience in their journey. Brian’s illustrative style is particularly suited to this story, the black charcoal capturing the seriousness and sadness of war.

The symbolism of friendship and mateship is iconically identified and well defined in this story. I think you can read this and understand more what it means to be Australian and why we feel the way we do about certain things.

At the beginning of the book Diane Wolfer gives an overview about the role of horses in the war and what became of them afterwards. Even though this story does cover some tragic and grim events, it doesn’t overtly dwell on them. 

Every Australian school and library should have a copy of this book.

Dianne is an author of thirteen books for teenagers and younger readers. This book is a companion book to her best selling Light House Girl. I haven’t read this one but am rushing to my local bookstore now to get it!
Neridah McMullin is the author of three books for children. Her latest book is an Indigenous folklore story called 'Kick it to Me!' It’s an ‘aussie rules’ story endorsed by the Australian Football League. Neridah loves family, footy and doing yoga with her cat Carlos (who also just happens to love footy!).

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Granny Grommet and Me

Granny Grommet and Me by Dianne Wolfer, illustrated by Karen Blair (Walker Books)
HB RRP $ 27.95
ISBN 9789121720161
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

This fantastic book is about the value of older people and the things they can share with the younger generation. It is presented through a most delightful and entertaining story. The superlative illustrations by Karen Blair are in complete harmony with the text. They are created by using mixed media comprising of watercolour paintings on paper with chinagraph pencil and acrylic paint.

Four grannies go to the beach, one of them with her grandchild and dog. They are all grommets. They wear wetsuits and caps, and use sunscreen.  Before entering the water with their surf boards, they check for rips. They enjoy themselves in the sun and the surf.

Granny calls to the child to come in. But it is afraid of ‘strange things under the waves’. The child has a small board with which it plays at the water’s edge until something touches its leg. Then out it runs.

When the grommets are finished surfing, they all go to a rock pool. Granny explains that the sea is like a giant rock pool. They don their snorkels and masks and granny confesses to the child that she too was afraid till the other grannies showed her the beauty beneath the waves. The child agrees to lie on granny’s surf board and look through the mask at the glory to be found beneath the water. The child sees the amazing sea life and is enchanted.

There is a list of Granny Grommet’s Beach Tips at the end of the story.

Dianne Wolfer has fifteen books in print with more on the way. She is the author of wonderful books like Lighthorse Boy, the companion book to Lighthouse Girl which won the West Australian Young Reader’s Award, was the CBCA Notable book, and which was Shortlisted for two Premier’s Awards.