Tuesday 18 April 2023

Toodle The Cavoodle Sniffle Snuffle

Toodle The Cavoodle Sniffle Snuffle by Richard Tulloch & Heidi Cooper-Smith (Big Sky Publishing) PB RRP $14.99 HB RRP $24.99 9781922765567

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

Richard Tulloch is one of Australia’s great story tellers, and popular writer of children’s books, plays and television for young audiences. He is an actor and director, and his television credits include Playschool and 150 episodes of Bananas in Pyjamas. He lives in Sydney and spends part of each year in his hometown of Amsterdam.

Toodle the Cavoodle is based upon an original character and concept created and developed by Maree Kirkland-Morris and Lyndi Adler. www.toodlethecavoodle.com

Toodle lives in Lillipilly Lane where he loves sniffing stinky smells, sweaty smells, and good to eat smells. Sometimes, a little girl with sparkly sandals joins him and they go on all sorts of imaginary adventures. Everything changes the day a grandpa, and a grandma decide that the lane needs cleaning up. Toodle no longer feels wanted and doesn’t understand all this cleaning up.  What will he do now that everything’s changed?

Tulloch is a master of character creation, Toodle is endearing, totally lovable, and stays true to being a sniffy dog that loves to explore. The reader instantly knows that Toodle is a dog that wants to sniff all different sorts of smells. The opening sentence delightfully introduces Toodle and where he lives. Toodle the Cavoodle lived in Lillipilly Lane. Everybody knew him. Everybody loved him. The charming language includes lots of onomatopoeia and rhyme. Swish-swish-scritchy-scaratch!’ Tulloch creates such a warm and inviting story that a reader feels as though they are inside Toodle’s world. I could feel myself sitting in the old car with Toodle and the little girl.


The story flows easily and smoothly and the dialogue sings in just the right places. ‘Where are we going today, Toodle?’ asked the sparkly sandals girl, ‘How about the beach?’ Without spoiling what happens when Toodle gets into a spot of bother, the reader instantly knows that this cliff hanger part of the story puts Toodle in great danger. It is a perfect page-turner and climax.


Illustrator Heidi Cooper-Smith is a talented author and illustrator. Her signature watercolour and digital creations make her work instantly recognisable. She beautifully captures the appearance of Toodle and his personality. The reader knows he’s a Cavoodle and that he’s curious and sniffy. His big eyes, bouncy ways and pure cuteness make him an instant hit.


On the cover we see a large image of Toodle’s face as he munches a sandwich find while eyeing a ladybird on his nose. The choice of a white background makes Toodle the focus of the cover. The endpapers show Toodle’s personality and sniffy world with lots of small images.


Once inside the book, the illustrations, as much as the words, take us on a journey with Toodle. The perspective zooms in and out to give the reader lots of story layers about Toodle. The addition of a green tree frog watching Toodle brings in another fun character to seek out. Toodle’s expression as he barks at the ride-on mower is perfect.


The blue page shows a sad and worried Toodle curled up on the seat of an old car. Cooper-Smith has also cleverly included a spread with Toodle looking down from a very high point so that everything below looks much smaller. What I love the most about her illustrations is that Toodle is captured perfectly on every page.


Toodle the Cavoodle Sniffle Snuffle is a part of a picture book series for children 3-8 years that celebrates dogs and friendship. It’s an awesome book to read aloud to children and will appeal to children, parents, teachers, and librarians.

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