Published by Lothian Children’s Books, an imprint of Hachette Australia, 2023
Cover design and illustration and internal illustrations by Astred Hicks, Design Cherry
Kimmi is written from the author’s passion for dingoes. It is a fictionalised account of the life of a tropical dingo from her infancy to her successful placement in the Dingo Discovery Sanctuary.
It tells also of the remarkable journey home of Kimmi’s mother across dangerous and difficult terrain, making us aware of the importance of the family unit to the Dingo.
Whilst this is a third person narrative, it is told strongly from the point of view of the dingoes, their observations and capacities. The people are all seen through dingoes’ eyes, some in a more positive light than others as Kimmi and her family struggle to understand the extremes of human behaviour.
This is a story of courage, family and adventure, highlighting the intelligence and adaptability of the dingo as a species. It points to parallel lessons for children who read the book – lessons of resilience and loyalty, of friendship and fun, of courage in the face of danger.
The end-notes provided by Kevin D. Newman, Dingo Sanctuary Supervisor and Kimmi’s favourite person will be of interest to both children and adults. They deal in facts and it is hoped dispel myths and negative dingo press. The light style of this section makes it accessible to primary school aged readers and invites further research and action to protect dingoes in the wild.
The book is illustrated by Astred Hicks. Her evocative and touching line drawings work perfectly with the clarity and tone of the story text, depicting both dingo and human emotions and behaviours. Production is also worth mentioning – the book is published as hard back that will withstand the no doubt many library borrowings it will enjoy.
Favel Parrett has created a neat balance here between story telling and information transmission. The book will no doubt continue to find enthusiastic young readers and spark their interest in and passion for Australian native animals and their conservation.
Thank you to Lothian/Hachette for my review copy and to Favel for speaking with me about the passion for dingoes and the genesis of this story.