The Postman’s Dog (illustrated by Wayne Harris)
Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2005
Charlie, the postman, loves delivering letters to lonely people, and their dogs, all over town. He always has time for a chat and a pat.
So, one day, when Charlie becomes lonelier than he ever imagined, his friends all try to help him.
‘You need a dog,’ they say, ‘to give you licks and hugs!’
But Charlie’s new dog has a secret of her own …
A joyous celebration of true friendship and community from the creators of ‘Gordon’s Got a Snookie.’
Once upon a time, I used to hear a postman leave for work every morning, just before dawn. As his motorbike zipped up his drive, his dog would let out uproarious barking from the backyard. For many years, I thought it was lovely that this postman received such a chorusing, beautiful farewell. This barking and my thinking about this went on for some years, until one day, I woke up and started wondering was this barking as friendly as I first thought? After all, what did I know of dogs and what did I know of posties? Certainly, that friendship was probably an incredibly rare thing! I began to ponder how posties have pet dogs. Did they have to conceal their profession? Would they need to get dressed on the front porch in the early hours of the morning, so their dogs did not recognise their uniforms?
Not long after, I began to imagine a postman called Charlie, who after experiencing a sudden onset of loneliness, goes to the pound to choose a dog companion. All is well until Charlie discovers he has chosen the only dog in the whole pound that has a particular vendetta against posties. How Charlie negotiates this new and fresh difficulty will take the help of his whole community!
This story really arose from paying attention, from listening to something predictable, with fresh and new ears. In my experience, stories can sneak up on us like this, if we are open enough to wonder! Sometimes though, it’s a challenge to hear beyond the surface of the ordinary!
Children’s Bookseller and Publisher
“This type of story is an important one for younger readers. It’s full of happiness and goodness but doesn’t skip over the sad parts of life, nor does it try to provide explanations for impossible questions. The graphics are warmly illustrated, and there is always something in motion on each page, leaving the reader itching to know what will happen to Charlie and Lucy.” Erin O’Brien
“A touching story with a fantastic feel-good factor…The story shows a wealth of warm relationships, with kind people from all cultures being the best of friends. This multiculturalism is also echoed in the many breeds of dog that Charlie visits. It touches on the theme of grief very sensitively, and ends on an uplifting, emotional high. The illustrations are vibrant in colour and lively in action.” Sarah Merrett
Winner 2006: Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Award for Language Development – Lower Primary Readers category.
Notable Book 2006: Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Award for Picture Book of the Year.