12 October 2022

Review: Runt by Craig Silvey

Runt by Craig Silvey book cover

* Copy courtesy of Allen & Unwin *

Runt by Craig Silvey was a sheer delight to read, it felt like 'coming home.' Forget his earlier books Honeybee and Jasper Jones, Runt is completely different and aimed at his youngest reading audience yet.

Annie Shearer is eleven years old and lives in a small country town called Upson Downs. Her parents run a sheep farm and Annie never goes anywhere without her leather tool belt, causing some kids to think she's a little odd.
"Fixing things is Annie's hidden talent. If something is wrong, she wants to make it right. But some problems are so tricky that it's not clear how to solve them, or they're so large that the solution doesn't fit in her tool belt. Like the drought, for example." Page 5
I warmed to Annie instantly and cheered when she made a friend in the stray dog of undetermined pedigree, Runt. Scavenging from bins and being chased by the local constabulary, Runt was all alone in the world, until he met Annie and they became fast friends.

The unique relationship between Annie and Runt is special and together they're capable of achieving great feats. Annie enters them both into an agility course at the local show in an attempt to win the grand prize of $500 to help her parents pay the mortgage on the mortgage. Naturally we want them to win, but Runt has a fear of being watched and won't do any tricks if someone else is watching. How are they going to be able to run the agility course at the show with so many people looking on?

Every chapter book needs a villain and Silvey gives us two: the Collector who lives on the hill and buys up properties whose owners have fallen victim to the hardships of drought, and a fellow competitor in the world of canine agility courses, Fergus Fink.

The story is further enhanced by charming illustrations by Sara Acton. Born in England but now living in Australia, Sara was kind enough to reach out on Instagram after enjoying my Bookmark Monday post so naturally I think we should permanently adopt her.

Brimming with little life lessons and subtle morals along the way, Runt is full of heart. If you loved Matilda by Roald Dahl, this is the book for you. There's even a 14 page teacher's resource available for download. 

Runt by Australian author Craig Silvey is an uplifting, heartwarming and comforting read for all ages and I'm looking forward to passing this on to family.

My Rating:

Would you like to comment?

  1. I went to a Craig Silvey event last night and got a signed copy. Looking forward to reading it.

    1. Ooh, a signed copy will make a lovely keepsake, I think you're going to love this one Diana!


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