DINGO by Mary Patchett


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Appealing to both adults and children, this fine animal book is about a ingo and a small boy in Australia. Except for the ending, it is told with freshness, very little sentimentality, and a great deal of genuinely moving drama. The , Small, is six and has been ill. He finds and raises secretly an orphan dingo up; there grows a love that heals and sustains him for many years, even after Mirri, the dingo, has become the hunted killer of the boy's father's sheep. This love serves as background to fine descriptions of a dingo's life, hunting habits, and matings, told with cool, sensitive realism. The boy protects Mirri from traps and hunters, in defiance of his father, brother, and economic necessity. Unobtrusively, the book is the touching record of war between an aboriginal and an inading race: dingos are Australia's only carnivores except man. Thus the boy's devotion and Mirri's hunting-down and death have a poignant dignity, since both are doomed by a changing way of life. Fine descriptions of wildlife, people and country; a small novel that should be widely read and that maintains the qualities and standards of the author's earlier The Proud Eagles (see p. 438, 1961).

Publisher: Doubleday