Review Blog

May 17 2012

Collywobble by Malachy Doyle

cover image

Ill. by Petra Brown. Pont Books, Wales, 2012. ISBN 978 1848513204.
(Ages: 5+) Warmly recommended. Picture book. Be sure to wear your woollies when reading this endearing tale of the runt of the litter, rejected by the farmers who want a pup to be a big strong sheep dog, and rejected by children who want a robust dog as a pet, then kept on by Farmer Joe as long as he is able to earn his keep. But it is mid winter, and when the pup's mum, Bess and Farmer Joe go out in the snow to fetch the sheep, the pup knows something is wrong. After all, no one has given him his tea. He ventures out into the snow, and seeing the sheep coming along the road, closes the gate when they trot into the yard. He then sets out to find his master and his mother, having to hail down another farmer for help.
Named Collywobble, because he is a collie dog, but very small and wobbly, the little pup will worm his way into the hearts of all the readers of this little book. The illustrations, cute to the point of  'aahh', are just wonderful in their depiction of the Welsh countryside in mid winter. The dogs portrayed are charming, and will appeal to every child and adult who reads the book. Pencil and line drawings render the dog and its family beautifully. I just love the double page spread of the determined little pup going out in the snow on pages 14 and 15, and the water colour washes depicting the Welsh Hills on pages 30 and 31, another 'aahh' moment.
A simple tale, well told in succinct prose, the book will be a hit with its audience. It is published by a small publisher in Wales, Pont Books, but it is worth ordering from your local supplier.
Fran Knight

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