Pup Patrol: Bush Rescue
Darrel and Sally Odgers (2015)
Gosford: Scholastic Press
Bush Rescue is the second story in a children’s series about working dogs by Darrel and Sally Odgers. This book continues the theme of exploring the natural phenomena that those in the bush face from time to time.
Stamp, otherwise known by his pedigree name of ‘Barnaby Station Stamp of Approval’, is a Border Collie living with James Barnaby, who wants to become a vet. This adventure introduces Ace, a snappy abandoned terrier who gets taken in by James but finds it difficult to believe that she is really wanted.
This adventure has pace and action aplenty. James drives into a town close to an area where a bushfire has swept through and stock and pets are lost and wandering the town. James volunteers to assist the local vet with rounding up stock and taking in pets that have been set free by their owners to give them the best hope at survival in a bushfire. This is a tale of the lost and reunited, of people pitching in to help those in need and of the realities of a bush fire. I found the way the impact of bush fires was dealt with incredibly realistic with many important teaching points for students. There are a number of themes woven through the story, not least of how the abandoned pup, Ace, can’t believe she is now really wanted but still feels threatened by other lost animals. Her angry and aggressive behaviour is quite typical of a child with low self-esteem, who feels threatened and undervalued. The patience and care demonstrated by James and Stamp are delightful. This is a good text for exploring inference and would be the number one ‘go to’ for bush fire readiness for the 6-9 year old age group.
This series is appropriate for the independent reader or as a read-aloud for younger children and includes a glossary of technical words at the end of each chapter. The glossary focus in this book is on bush ‘lingo’. I will certainly be seeking out more Pup Patrol stories for my class, as I know they will be popular with this animal-loving age group.
Sarah McIntosh - Teacher, Wanniassa Hills Primary School, Canberra, ACT