Mr Dumby lived on a little farm in the valley. Everyone said he lived there on his own but that wasn’t true. He lived with a duck.
Mr Dumby and his duck, who he has named, very simply, Duck, enjoy their quiet lifestyle on the farm. Mr Dumby grows vegetables and Duck digs for worms, and each enjoys the other’s company. But Duck’s peace is shattered when two boys discover her swimming in the creek and try to catch her. Although she is rescued by the neighbour’s dog, Duck is alarmed when the boys come to Mr Dumby’s door the following week. She tries to warn Mr Dumby that there is trouble around.
Mr Dumby’s Duck is a delightful new story from esteemed children’s author, Colin Thiele. It is a simple tale of friendship, told in Thiele’s uncomplicated style and, like so many Thiele stories, will appeal to readers of any age, though its length (64pp) and the use of plenty of illustrations make it especially suited for younger children.
Mr Dumby’s Duck, by Colin Thiele
When the usually arid Lake Eyre in Central Australia is filled by rare floods, its shores become home to a great range of wildlife, including pelicans. But when the lake starts to shrink again, these animals face a choice between starvation and risking their lives to return to their regular homes.
In Pannikin & Pinta a pair of pelicans comes to the flooded lake to raise a family. When the flood recedes, the mother sets off on a journey with her teenage children to attempt to return to the coast.
Combining the masterful prose of Colin Thiele with the warm reading voice of actor Roger Cardwell, this is a production which touches the soul. Although Thiele is known as a writer of children’s and young adult stories, he has an ageless style which makes this story suitable for all. At 57 minutes playing time, this story could be enjoyed in one session.
Pannikin & Pinta, by Colin Thiele, read by Roger Cardwell
ABC Audio, 2003
Reviewed by Tash Hughes
A collection of twenty-two stories by Australian authors, this book forms part of our literary history. Some of the included authors are well known today, such as Alan Marshall, Henry Lawson and Henry Handel Richardson.
There is no common theme to the stories beyond their connection to an idealistic, simpler Australia. Each story is based around the people and places that formed many of the images Australians hold of themselves.
A few of the stories have been collected from publications such as The Bulletin and Meanjin, whilst others have been published in books.
Two stories are based on women, and two on children. The Drover’s Wife is a classic tale of the family left behind when men went droving whilst And Women Must Weep shows a young girl’s experience of her first ball. Watching animals in The Ant Lion and The Foal ends up teaching children lessons about life and respecting it.
There is humour in The Funerals of Malachi Mooney, mystery in A Golden Shanty, another world in The Jumping Jeweller of Lavender Bay and the puzzlement and danger of a drunk in The Lobster and the Lioness.
Kaijek The Songman(1941) shows the interrelationship between a white prospector and an aboriginal couple in the middle of nowhere. The story is largely told from the point of view of Kaijek and Ninyul as they happen upon the prospector’s camp. However, it is obviously written by a white man for the Bulletin market when there was little real sympathy or understanding of aboriginals.
An interesting collection that would enhance any understanding of the development of the Australian psyche.
Favourite Australian Stories, compiled by Colin Thiele