Robbie and the Dolphins, by Justin D'Ath

A swift V-shaped ripple arrowed across the water towards Robbie’s cap. There was a splash, a slice of grey fin, the cap leapt into the air…

Robbie can’t swim or play games, because he is in a wheelchair. He’s only allowed to come to the Sunday School picnic if he promises to be very careful. But Robbie is sick of being careful and being treated like a baby. Maybe he can’t walk, but he still wants to have fun.

When Robbie meets an old fisherman, he wants to get to know him better. And when he joins Alan on the jetty, he comes face to face with a dolphin. When Robbie’s hat blows into the water, the dolphin gets it back for him – but soon it’s Robbie who can help the dolphin.

Robbie and the Dolphin is one of the first four titles in the new Making Tracks series from the National Museum of Australia Press. Each title is set in a significant period of Australian history and also uses an exhibit from the National Museum as a springboard for the story. In Robbie and the Dolphin the chosen exhibit was a Chevrolet Truck, and the truck appears in the story as a means of getting Robbie and his wheelchair about.

With 64 pages and easy to read, yet high-interest text, this title, and the others in the series, are suitable for middle primary students, either as classroom resources or for private reading. Robbie and the Dolphins explores two important topics in Australia’s history – the effects of the polio epidemic, and the after-effects of the second world war, as well as an environmental theme of caring for marine creatures and, of course, the topic of children with disabilities.

Good stuff.

Robbie and the Dolphins, by Justin D’Ath
National Museum of Australia Press, 2006