Tuesday 4 August 2015

Bob the Railway Dog

Bob the Railway Dog by Corinne Fenton, illustrated by Andrew McLean (black dog books)
HC RRP $24.95
ISBN 9781922179890

Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

We are taken back in time and history as soon as the book is opened; to South Australia, 1884 in fact. With lyrical prose that shines and illuminates Corinne Fenton’s love of social history, we view the real life story of Bob from his arrival at Carrieton Station. He is among a collection of homeless dogs from Adelaide destined as rabbit hunters in outback South Australia. Will Ferry, a guard, sees the pup and ‘something tumbled in the man’s heart.’ He names him Bob.

But Bob is a restless spirit, a lover of trains, and a traveller. He becomes known from Oodnadatta to Kalangadoo. Housed and fed by drivers and guards, even in the porter’s room at wherever station he stops, Bob is welcomed by everyone.

It’s a magnificent adventure undertaken by Bob the Railway Dog who rides trains, and follows train tracks. His travels allow him to experience many historical events during his lifetime. And he always returns to visit his friend and saviour, Will Ferry.

This story is about Bob, but also is an historical portrayal of the birth and expansion of the railway in outback Australia. The outstanding illustrations by Andrew McLean of Bob and the railway’s history are created with watercolour and charcoal and black coloured pencil. This stunning book is suitable for the 5 -105 age group. It comes highly recommended.

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