The White Mouse: The Story of Nancy Wake, by Peter Gouldthorpe

‘Right there and then I made up my mind that if ever I got the chance, I would do everything in my power to hurt them, to damage the Nazis and everything they stood for.

After a difficult childhood in Australia, Nancy Wake manages to travel first to London and later to Paris, where she talks herself into a job as a foreign correspondent. She is happy in Paris, and meets and marries a man she loves, but as the Nazi Party’s influence grows, she worries about what will happen, and when war breaks out, her fears are realised. Soon, Nancy is part of the resitance movenent, working to undermine the Nazis and to help their victims.

The White Mouse tells the remarkable story of a remarkable Australian woman and her work during World War 2: driving ambulances, helping escaped prisoners, transporting radios and other banned items. As a story which most Australian children are unlikely to know, and one which shows a strong woman working hard to make a difference in a time of hardship, the book is a really important offering.

The illustrations – in pen and ink and using techniques such as newspaper headlines and maps in the backgrounds of some pages, and text boxes looking as if they are taken from aging notebooks – have the feel of the time period in which they are set, and are reminiscent of the war story comics and paperback novels which adult readers may remember.

A quality book about a fascinating Australian.

The White Mouse: The Story of Nancy Wake, by Peter Gouldthorpe
Omnibus Books, 2015
ISBN 9781742990910

The Dog on the Tuckerbox, by Corinne Fenton

Whilst most Australian adults are familiar with the story of the dog on the tuckerbox, many Australian children are not. So it is wonderful to see the story brought to life in a beautiful picture book offering. The work of award-winning team Corrine Fenton and Peter Gouldthorpe, The Dog on the Tuckerboxis a visual and literary delight.

Fenton tells the story of the loyal dog, Lady, and her master, Bill, using language both vivid and simple to record the tale and bring the time period to life. Gouldthorpe’s exquisite illustrations bring Lady, the bullocks and the rural landscape to life with a vividness that will have children wondering if they are indeed photographs.

Part of Australia’s rich history of folklore, the story has been given a fresh lease of life for a new generation. The book has a timeless feel to it, which will make it a long-treasured addition to any home library. It will also be a valuable classroom resource and should find a home in every school library.


The Dog on the Tuckerbox, by Corinne Fenton and Peter Gouldthorpe
black dog books, 2008