Welcome to the blog of the Tasmanian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia!

Friday 21 July 2023

Dog Tales

Discover some wonderful chapter books about dogs in this week’s post brought to you by Loretta Brazendale. With a focus on the work of Kate Foster, discover her engaging fiction titles that deal with not just dogs but some of life’s challenges.

The last few weeks I have been reading Kate Foster’s chapter books! Now you are probably wondering how I got onto them. Well, I was checking out a book to a child at the library and I saw the cover of Harriet Hound and I thought ‘I have to read this as it has dogs and a girl in dog pj’s!!’ I did ask the child why she had borrowed this book and like me she loves dogs also. So, I placed it on hold straight away!  Read it, loved it, and ordered another three of Kate Foster’s books. I don’t know how Kate does this but her approach to topics on autism, mental health and depression in children is amazing and thoughtful. Her stories are worded so well and the understanding of what can be a daunting subject and a confusing time for a child – she somehow writes without it feeling overwhelming to the reader. Her books can really help children understand how we are all different and how others may see the world or how they are coping. I applaud you Kate for your wonderful books and for the beautiful dog characters in your stories. I can relate to how precious a friendship with a dog can be to a child and even an adult.  Please enjoy my reviews on four of Kate Fosters beautiful stories. 

- Kate Foster, 2021, Walker Books

Loved this warm, funny book about finding real friends. The book is aimed at children ages 7-10 and focuses on autism and moving from Primary to High School. People like myself who are dog crazy will love this beautiful story. 

Kate really did an amazing job with the detail of the story to give a young reader a kid’s perspective of living with autism and the challenges that come with that. I think this story should be read by all primary students, so they understand how everyone is different. Kevin the cockapoo played such an important role in Alex’s life as one friend he can always count on. I love how dogs can always sense when you need a little pick me up like a lick or their head on your knee.  I personally feel dogs bring a calming presence into a space – especially in a school environment. 

I highly recommend this well written story! 

The Unlikely Hero’s Club
- Kate Foster, 2023, Walker Books

The story is about a group of autistic kids who attend a week at Hero Club to learn ways to engage, socialise and hopefully make some new friends. Oli, the main character, thinks this will be boring, and he would be happier to stay at home. 

I loved how Kate described each of the kid’s different autistic traits within the story. The group notice a dog running into an abandoned building – they know they have to save it before demolition day.  

The group’s dedication and teamwork is lovely. You cannot help but cheer on the kids of the Heroes Club, as they each use their strengths to help save the dog.

It’s a very sweet book, that I think primary school aged children would enjoy. 

Harriet Hound
Kate Foster, 2023, Walker Books

This book is absolutely wonderful! Gorgeous dogs and an autistic girl with superpowers- what more could you want. The illustrations by Sophie Beer complement. Harriet is an awesome little girl who never lets her autism stop her from doing the things she loves! Harriet’s family run a dog rescue shelter and Harriet knows and loves each and every dog that they care for there. When help is needed Harriet transforms into a superhero, wearing her special dog pyjamas. She only needs to touch a picture of a dog on her pyjamas, and she is there to help with any situation. I have to admit I was reading this story in my dog pj’s, and I felt a bit like Harriet in my now superhero pj’s! Great read for children 7 and up will really enjoy this sweet story. 

The Bravest Word - Kate Foster, 2022, Walker Books

Such a beautiful, well-written book. Wonderful characters and such a meaningful, heartfelt story. Matt, an 11 year old boy used to be happy, but now can hardly get out of bed. Slowly he & his dad realise he might be suffering from depression. One day Matt and his dad are out walking, and they come across an abandoned puppy. They take the puppy in and Matt decides to call him Cliff! The story is already a tearjerker but when I read Cliff my eyes welled up!! Because my 13 year old dog is named “Cliffy” 

A great recommendation to discuss mental health with preteens. 

Loretta Brazendale
CBCA Committee Member and lover of all things doggie.

Editor’s note: If you love books about dogs and are looking for some great picture books check out a previous CBCA Tasmania post: Mann’s Best Friend!

1 comment:

  1. Of course Loretta has a pair of Dog Pyjamas!...thanks for the heads up - just checked Libby app, and these can be read as e-books.