Title: Little Dog and the Summer Holiday
Written by Corinne Fenton
Illustrated by Robin Cowcher
Published by Black Dog Books, an imprint of Walker Books
RRP: $24.95 ($AUD, hb)

This gorgeous, nostalgic story of an Australian holiday from the summer of 1957/58 is a must for all families. Little Dog watches as his family pack the caravan before they all leave Melbourne early in the morning for their holiday in Sydney. Their long journey, spanning two days, is complete when they reach Bondi Beach, where they can relax and enjoy their holiday with others at the caravan park.

little dog and the chrismtas wishLittle Dog and Summer Holiday follows the same format and style as Little Dog and the Christmas Wish published in 2014. Gorgeous ink and water colour illustrations accompany the well worked verbal text featuring Little Dog as main character. Road trip holidays, with family, pets and caravan, have always been popular and this beautiful book shows what it was like in the 1950s. Both verbal and visual texts emanate the time and the season, even down to Dad being “red-faced and grumpy”, something many adult readers will remember about the lack of air conditioning in cars!

The historical setting is portrayed accurately to almost every detail. There is a note at the back of the book regarding one small geographical alteration from historical records, and although this reader would be none the wiser, I am sure others will appreciate this note.

This book offers so much to many readers and is one not to be missed in all libraries. Highly recommended.

Classroom activity ideas

  • Research your local area for photos or information from the same time period. Make a class mural of photos from then and now.
    • Note – Many local council public libraries and local history centres have an online photo archive.
  • Follow Little Dog’s road trip on a map. Have each member of the class choose a town or area to research, report to the class.
  • Recall your favourite family holiday away from home. Write about it, including a map of the road trip and photos and/or drawings.
  • List the iconic landmarks and attractions in the book. Complete a class KWL chart. K – What we know about the attraction, W – What we want to know, L – What we learned. Use this KWL chart.

Many thanks to Walker Books for supplying this book for review.