Dobby by Marion Day
Flying into the snow-clad mountains in the depths of winter, Dobby goes missing when his master takes him hunting. His jacket gets snagged on a bush and he is trapped. Can Old Kea and Young Kea help Dobby find the strength to stay alive in the bitter cold?
Dobby is a remarkable survival story based on a true event in Kā Tiritiri o te Moana / the Southern Alps. Dobby the vizsla from Haast was lost in the mountains one June while hunting with his master Zane. While Zane has to leave without him, he doesn't give up looking for the dog. Dobby survives seven freezing nights in the wild before Zane is able to find him, alongside two kea. It is thought the two birds may have helped Dobby survive his ordeal.
Author Marion Day tells the Dobby story in a compelling way, full of suspense and hope. It's a heartfelt story but not overwhelming sad or scary for little readers. The kea are a delight and Day has done a wonderful job at personifying them - the dialogue and way of speaking is exactly what you imaging a kea would talk like.
Illustrated by realist artist Emma Gustafson, readers are instantly able to recognise New Zealand's high country. Each character has a distinct personality and Gustafson helps convey emotion through her illustrations.
Day also includes some cute photos of Dobby within this creative non-fiction picture book, as well as more information about his breed, and the things that make Dobby special.
A heartwarming read about the goodest boy and his big adventure, Dobby is a delightful read.
Reviewed by Rebekah Lyell
AM Publishing, RRP $24.99