I’m always a sucker for books and movies that depict my hometown (Melbourne) – there’s something appealing about seeing places and landmarks that you know well through an artist’s or writer’s eyes. A new book by much-loved Australian author, Corinne Fenton, shows Melbourne at its best, as well as introducing us to a charming white terrier known as Little Dog.
Little Dog and the Christmas Wish begins on Christmas Eve, when a thunderstorm frightens Little Dog. Scared, he goes in search of his owner, a boy named Jonathan but suddenly finds himself lost and alone in the city. As Little Dog trundles through the city, Melburnians will recognise all sorts of landmarks – the Skipping Girl, the Block Arcade, the Myer Christmas windows, Flinders Street Station and other distinct details such as the trams and Melbourne’s numerous laneways.
Little Dog and the Christmas Wish is more than just a Christmas story (or a Melbourne story) – it has a sweet and universal message about the importance of ‘home’ (and that ‘home’ is sometimes a person, not a place). Needless to say, the story has a happy ending and Little Dog does indeed get his Christmas wish.
Little Dog and the Christmas Wish is Robin Cowcher’s first picture book and she’s done a stunning job. Little Dog, despite being created from minimal ink lines and a dash of grey watercolour, is incredibly expressive and undeniably loveable. As the story unfolds, Little Dog becomes increasingly frightened and disheveled and Cowcher manages to pack so much emotion into his dear little face. The endpapers include more sketches of Little Dog – all of them are exquisite.
Little Dog and the Christmas Wish is suitable for children aged three years and over. Find it in all good book stores or online at Readings.