Sunday 19 May 2013


Seadog by Claire Saxby, illustrated by Tom Jellett (Random House Australia)
HB RRP $19.95
ISBN 9781742756509
Also available as an ebook
ISBN 9781742756523
Reviewed by Marian McGuinness

Fabulous and fun! I loved this picture book from the moment I saw Tom Jellett’s cheeky cover. There are many rascally dogs in children’s literature such as Harry the Dirty Dog and Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy, and Seadog has just as much charisma.

Just like we are all different, so too are dogs. Who wouldn’t love a sea dog? Who couldn’t love a sea dog? Seadog is not a work dog or a fetch dog or a trick dog or a clean dog, he’s a ‘find-and-roll-in-the-fish dog’. He’s a rapscallion and his day at the beach is described in lots of hyphenated phrases, until he is a ‘Pee-ee-euw, Seadog’. After the day is done when he’s all stinky with fish he becomes a ‘sit-still-till-it’s-done dog’ and succumbs to a bath.

With Saxby’s clever use of alliteration and assonance, children and adults will have fun twisting their tongues around the rhythm and rhyme as they go on Seadog’s adventures at the beach.

Tom Jellett has captured the enthusiasm and joy of such a scruffy, lovable dog. The endpapers give the book even more sea-appeal with a patchwork of international maritime signal flags. There are lots of close-up pictures of Seadog that make you feel as if you could give him a pat and hold your nose as you smell his fishy fur.

Claire Saxby is prolific in her writing and admits to being inspired by her own children, memories of childhood and by the children around her. It helps that she has a dog that often pretends to be a cat.

Tom Jellett is not only a bestselling illustrator of books for children; he also has been an editorial illustrator for umpteen print publications.

This is one picture book for 3 and up that will become dog-eared from love.

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