Blacky Blasts Back, by Barry Jonsberg

I took a step nearer the bed.
‘Blacky?’ I breathed.
‘Who were you expecting, bucko? Barack Obama?’
I turned on the bedside light.
A small, scruffy, dirty-white dog sat on my pillow. It looked at me through pink-rimmed eyes.
‘Watcha, mush,’ said the dog.

All the bad boys from Marcus’s school are off to Tasmania for an army-style camp, to teach them some discipline and team working skills. Marcus is not one of the bad boys (even though his best mate Dylan is), but he desperately needs to go on that camp – because Blacky, the talking dog has ordered him off on a new mission, to track down and rescue the last Tasmanian tiger.

It’s bad enough that Blacky is a talking dog – but he also stinks, and is very bossy. Soon Marcus is off in the wilds of Tasmania doing Blacky’s bidding at the same time he needs to evade a bully out to get him, and a mad Scotsman camp leader. With plenty of silliness mixed with some action and even some issues including bullying, mateship and conservation, there’s a lot happening here – which is why primary aged readers will love it.

This is the third story featuring Marcus and Blacky, but happily stands alone for those new to the series.

Blacky Blasts Back: On the Tail of the Tassie Tiger, by Barry Jonsberg
Allen & Unwin, 2010

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