Saturday 14 May 2022

Zadie Ma and the Dog Who Chased the Moon

Zadie Ma and the Dog Who Chased the Moon by Gabrielle Wang (Puffin Books) PB RRP $16.99 ISBN 9781761046513

Reviewed by Kathleen Grace

The author of this novel is award-winning, and born in Melbourne of Chinese heritage. Currently she is Australian Children’s Laureate. Here she publishes a new, heart-warming story set in post-war Melbourne about courage, friendship, the magic of stories, and one girl’s unwavering love for her dog.

Chapter One starts with the words, ‘The day she turned eleven was the day Zadie Ma discovered her superpower.’ Zadie writes in her writing book, a story titled ‘Little Ant, Cassandra’ when her mother tries to kill some ants invading her kitchen. When she returns to the kitchen, her brother Teddy says the ants ‘wented away. Disvapowed.’ When Zadie writes another story called ‘Little Kit’ she realises some of her stories can come true. Magical!

One day Zadie starts to write about rescuing a poor, unwanted dog called Jupiter. Will this story bring to life her most important story of the dog of her dreams?

This, like all of Wang’s books for children, is easy to reading and compelling. At the front of it is a photo of her as a child of ten with her grandfather and her dog Rusty. Also at the front of the book are framed sketches of Zadie with her brother (1955) and father (1951), and another of her Mama and brother in the family shop (1954). The book has numerous sketches, including a comic strip of Jupiter the dog rescuing the Ma family from a fire.

As with other books she’s written, Wang’s stories are a blend of Chinese and Western culture with a touch of fantasy. This book is ideal for readers aged 9+ years.

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