A Sheepdog Called Sky By Helen Peters
Illustrated by Ellie Snowdon
Published by Allen & Unwin (Nosy Crow)
Date: 23 August 2017
A Sheepdog Called Sky by Helen Peters is about farm life, saving animals and the very passionate Jasmine. When I say farm life, the focus is more on Jasmine’s love of protecting and saving animals that have been neglected, hurt, or abandoned. Sky comes into Jasmine’s life when she finds him abandoned in a field on the brink of death. Her natural protective instincts immediately set in and she starts taking measures to warm and hydrate this weak little pup. The story follows sky’s journey to recovery, and we see Jasmine battle against the odds to keep this little pup as her own.
Some books are little treasures, and this is one of those where I felt transported back to when I was a child. I felt familiar with the story and felt comfortable that the content is safe for an 8 year old to read. There are a lot of books about magic, goblins and elves for young children, but in my role as a Librarian parents often ask me for books that don’t have those components. For those types of requests this book is a perfect fit.
Most of the character development has been focused on Jasmine, her mum and her friend and fellow protector of animals Tom. Throughout the book we see Jasmine and her mum, both protectors of animals having different ideas of what Sky’s future may hold. We see a loving relationship between the two with times of frustration and difference of opinion, yet communicative and trusting.
Jasmine develops quite a lot throughout the book, she shows commitment to nurturing Sky and later training her. The reader becomes aware as the book progressed that Jasmine is resilient, sometimes lets her emotions take control while learning from the experience. I like that no matter what situation was faced in the book, Jasmine had a childlike response that was realistic for her age; the author never lost sight of who her character was and I enjoyed getting to know her throughout the story.
Tom was a lovely addition to the story, a friend who loves to nurture and protect animals; both he and Jasmine with long term goals for an animal shelter. Sky also bonds with Tom, and his excitement and commitment to the pup and his well being is just as evident as it is with Jasmine. What I really liked about Tom was that he wasn’t portrayed as a “typical” rough and tumble boy, instead he was quite a gentle boy who cared about others while also liking adventure.
Part of the story line was a learning experience for children when the family were in contact with and working alongside the RSPCA to find Sky’s owners, to check her identification and to ensure she is being well looked after. Whether it be through a school trip or with family to adopt a new pet, the young reader may be familiar with the RSPCA and if they aren’t then this book gives a little insight into its role.
Throughout the story we are introduced to two animals from previous books…YES there are two previous books – A Piglet Called Truffle and A Duckling Called Button. And, from what I was reading there looks like there might be a lot more room on Jasmine’s family farm for many other animals, so stay tuned for more in the future.
Overall, this book was a lovely read about nurturing and protecting animals, family, friendship and never giving up. I enjoyed the simplicity of the story that kept me reading until the very end because I couldn’t put it down. The cover illustration is refreshing, the pictures endearing, the shades of blue, green and red saw me picking it up sometimes just to look at the cover. I highly recommend this book for 8 years and above.
Thank you to Allen & Unwin (Nosy Crow) for the opportunity to read and honestly review this book