Tag Archives: dogs

Funny Farm by Mark Teague


Funny Farm by Mark Teague, hard-back picture book, published by Orchard Books in 2009.

Edward visits Hawthorne Farm for the first time. His uncle, aunt and cousin show him how to help about the farm, by collecting eggs, feeding the pigs, painting the barn, and herding the sheep. The fact that Edward and his family are dogs running a farm is only the first of many odd things at Hawthorne Farm!

Funny Farm is a simple story of a day on the farm, just that the farm is a little different to most. The text was clear and easy to read, with just one sentence per scene; great for younger children. Each page was full of colourful and detailed illustrations full of interesting and unusual things.

My preschoolers thought Funny Farm was pretty good. They liked all the strange things, such as the pigs playing on the swings, the bugs ploughing their own small field, and the sheep brushing their teeth at the water trough. They laughed quite a lot when Edward got chased by the rooster and when he fell into the pig’s food trough! They are keen to read this book again.

Funny Farm is suitable for toddlers and preschoolers.




Fizz and the Police Dog Tryouts by Lesley Gibbes


FizztryoutscoverFizz and the Police Dog Tryouts by Lesley Gibbes and illustrated by Stephen Michael King, paperback chapter book, 68 pages, published by Allen & Unwin in 2016.

Fizz is a doggie ball of fluffy white fur. He would make an excellent show dog, or lap dog, or companion dog, but all he really wants to be is a police dog! He isn’t big or scary or mean like some of the other dogs trying out to be the next police dog, but Fizz does have a lot of heart. He is fast and brave and clever, but will it be enough to become a police dog?

What a fantastic chapter book! It is perfect for newly independent readers, and will appeal to a large range of children. My first grader is enthralled! She took Fizz off to read in bed, with the edict that she could read one chapter. When I went to check on her, she admitted that she might have read “just a bit more than that, cos it is super good, mummy!”. We will definitely be getting more Fizz books!

After reading many many books about magical creatures, fairies and secret magical lands with my girls (their choice), I am ecstatic to find a book suitable for young readers that isn’t focused on magic, and isn’t marketed just to girls. Sure the dogs talk and the humans understand them, but that isn’t the main theme of the story. Fizz and the Police Dog Tryouts is about believing in oneself and working towards your goals with everything you’ve got. I enjoyed the story almost as much as my daughter.

While the story is fun and amusing, the characters are also interesting. Fizz is an highly lovable character with lots of spark. I liked Benny too, but Amadeus was very very mean! What a scary dog. I am very glad I didn’t have to go up against Amadeus, Fizz is much braver than me.

There are black and white illustrations throughout the book, capturing some of the most important moments of the story. Having the pictures interspersed throughout the text is a great way to prevent early readers from becoming overwhelmed by too many words on each page. I liked the illustrations in Fizz. In particular Fizz and Amadeus were just as I imagined them to be.

Suitable for preschool and lower primary school children, Fizz may also suit older reluctant readers. Fizz’s adventures continue in the next book, Fizz and the Dog Academy Rescue.

Pig the Fibber by Aaron Blabey


IMG_4939Pig the Fibber by Aaron Blabey, hardback picture book, published by Scholastic Australia in 2015.

Pig the pug is back, and he is still being mean to Trevor the sausage dog! Pig blames Trevor for all of his own naughty behaviour. Now Pig has a plan to consume all the dog treats in one sitting, but first he has to get those pesky owners out of the way. Will Pig’s fibbing come back to bite him?

We loved Pig the Pug, and now we love Pig the Fibber. Despite being so mean to Trevor, it’s hard not to like this little roly-poly fellow, and to feel both amused and a bit sorry for him when he gets his just desserts.

Behind this funny tale with its rhyming text is a simple message about not telling lies. Pig learns the hard (and humourous for us) way that fibbing about his misdeeds is not a nice thing to do. A good lesson for all children, though I hope fibbing children don’t get quite the same consequences as Pig! The illustrations aren’t too complex, but there is so much character in them. The dogs’ expressions are excellently conveyed, especially Pig’s face when he is doing something naughty. He has crazy eyes and a maniacal grin!

Pig the Fibber is an excellent follow up to Pig the Pug, and is fantastic for sharing with little people. It is definitely a picture book worthy of re-reading many times, and whilst it is best for preschoolers and lower primary school students, but most people will have a chuckle whilst reading Pig’s latest adventure.


Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey


IMG_4940 (1)Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey, hardback picture book, published by Scholastic Australia in 2014.

Pig is a pug, a very greedy pug. He lives with a sausage dog called Trevor, who is sweet and kind. Pig never shares anything with Trevor, claiming everything for himself. He really should share, but will he learn his lesson?

Pig the Pug is a funny book with a message discouraging selfishness and greediness. The lyrical text flows nicely, and is accompanied by clear and simple illustrations. I love the look on Pig’s face when he is standing on top of his pile of toys, it is perfectly maniacal! And I can’t imagine a more perfect ending for this story. I hope Pig learns from his experience, but I have a funny feeling he may need a few more lessons on sharing.

My kids enjoyed this book, and demanded re-reads straight away. They also went away and read the book themselves (3rd grader and kindergartner). They both laughed at Pig’s greedy ways, especially when he was yelling “Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine!”, which is something their toddler brothers do a lot!

This cute rhyming book is suitable for pre-schoolers and lower primary school children, and is great for reading aloud. Pig the Pug is a shortlisted book for The Children’s Book of the Year Awards in 2015, and has been followed up with a second book, Pig the Fibber.


You may also enjoy reviews of Pig the Elf and Pig the Fibber.

The Pocket Dogs by Margaret Wild and Stephen Michael King


IMG_0439The Pocket Dogs by Margaret Wild and illustrated by Stephen Michael King, paperback picture book, first published by Omnibus Books in 2000, this edition published by Omnibus Books in 2001.

Mr Pockets owns a big blue coat with two big pockets. His little dogs, Biff and Buff, ride in his coat pockets every day as he walks to the shops. A hole develops in Biff’s pocket, and it gets bigger and bigger until Biff falls right through it and is lost. Several people try to help Biff, but he runs away because he is Mr Pocket’s pocket dog and he just wants to be reunited with Mr Pockets and Buff.

This is a cute picture book that my kids really like, it is also popular at their school with the preschoolers and lower primary school children. The language is easy, the story interesting and the pictures are engaging. It shows that knowing who you are and feeling that you belong somewhere are important in life. Biff finds that he is a pocket dog and only a pocket dog, and he belongs with Mr Pockets and Buff, and that makes him happy. My preschooler likes to curl up in my lap to read this book together when she is tired. She likes Biff’s short adventure and his reunion with his best friends.