Title: Jasper & Abby and the Great Australia Day Kerfuffle
Author: Kevin Rudd and Rhys Muldoon
Illustrator: Carla Zapel
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Suitable Age: 4 – 6
Summary (Allen & Unwin website)
Follow the adventures of the Prime Minister’s pet cat and dog, as they try to avert one disaster after another during Australia Day celebrations at The Lodge.
It was a special day at the Lodge. There was going to be a party. A big party. Abby the dog was there. Jasper the cat was there. But … so was a scruffy little dog.
The Prime Minister receives many letters and emails from children asking about Jasper and Abby, and he often tells his friends, colleagues and staff stories of the antics of his family pets. Having heard these stories, Rhys Muldoon – who has been friends with Kevin Rudd for many years – encouraged the Prime Minister to write a children’s book.
Proceeds from this book go to The Centre for Community Child Health, at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.
You know, the word “kerfuffle” just isn’t used enough in modern literature.
There were quite a few questions raised when Jasper & Abby was published. How does a busy Prime Minister find time to write a children’s book? Just how much did Kevin Rudd contribute to the book and how much was penned by well-known Australian actor Rhys Muldoon? How does a small fluffy brown dog called Chewy manage to bypass the security systems of what should be one of Australia’s most secure buildings?
For me, the more significant question is this: How did K Rudd and Rhys get photos of my parents’ dog Chewy so they could put him in their story? Hmmm? I wouldn’t have thought my Mum and Dad would have made it onto the ASIO watch list, but I guess you never know. Parents can be strange and mysterious people, so I guess anything is possible.
I can’t access an illustration of Chewy from the book, but for those of you that have access to a copy, I’ve included a photo of my parents dog Chewy so that you can compare. What do you think? Should we be claiming a percentage of the royalties? Maybe we’ll just join the authors in donating our share to the Centre for Community Child Health at the Royal Children’s Hospital.
This is a cute story about an Australia Day celebration almost sabotaged by a feisty brown dog that gets loose in The Lodge, the residence of Australia’s Prime Minister. Fortunately, Kevin Rudd’s pets Jasper the cat and Abby the dog are on duty and save the day. Kids will enjoy the chaos and this is a nice Australian story that avoids relying on all the standard cliches of koalas, kangaroos, bush rangers and gum leaves.
If you have a copy, I’d love to know whether you think my parents’ dog Chewy is the renegade dog of the story. My kids think so, but my husband isn’t convinced. What do you think?by