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Rollo’s Wet Surprise, Penny Macoun (author), Paul Nash (illus.), Penny Macoun, 2021.
Rollo is a dog that goes to work with his owner, Jim. Jim is a builder and when he is working, Rollo loves to explore all the different homes Jim and his team of builders work at.
One day, the builders are moving lots of big, heavy windows to a safe area. Rollo begins to explore this new part of the garden, and sniffs around.
While Rollo is exploring, he gets a very wet surprise.
From the narrative perspective of Rollo the dog, readers are swiftly pulled into the world of sights and smells of this exploring pooch… except when it’s raining, of course. And with any inquisitive dog on an unfamiliar property, there’s bound to be some unexpected surprises, which in this case involves more water than poor Rollo can handle. Author Penny Macoun and illustrator Paul Nash roll out this adventurous tale with plenty of detail, emotion and reassurance to keep their early years readers engaged all the way through.
Rollo’s Wet Surprise carries strong themes of water safety around pools (and any other large body of water), as well as the need for supervision and responsibility for our pets. Although unbeknownst to builder Jim, his dog Rollo has a mind of his own while exploring the unchartered territory of the property owner’s pool. Surprisingly, he finds himself caught underneath the pool cover, or ‘heavy blue thing’, struggling to escape the cold water. Fortunately, the builders aren’t too far away and quickly come to his rescue, although unsympathetic of the sulking Rollo. At least he learns a valuable lesson!
With illustrations and colours that are aptly soft and silky, Paul Nash delivers energy, different perspectives and clear, amusing expressions. Penny Macoun’s exuberant story, based on actual events, allows scope for discussions on keeping safe, not only around water, but also around worksites and unfamiliar properties. Having an animal character as a protagonist helps children to think about their own behaviours within (and beyond) boundaries, as well as stepping up the responsibility for their much-loved pets.
A light-hearted tale on an important topic, Rollo’s Wet Surprise is a book that children from age three, and especially dog-lovers, will want to explore over and over again.
Review by Romi Sharp.
Please follow Penny Macoun at her website: https://www.pennymacoun.com.au/
Find out more about Paul Nash and his art at his website: https://www.nashyart.com/
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