STICKY THE DOG
by Robert Wheeler
(St Andrew's Sopher Care Group Inc, 2001, 95pp, $12.95. Available from AD Books)
Sticky the Dog is a collection of children's stories written by Uniting Church Minister, Robert Wheeler. The stories are not only entertaining but combine the Gospel messages with interesting facts and amusing anecdotes.
The stories are based around the adventures and mishaps of a brown kelpie named Sticky, who was so-named after a painful encounter with a beehive. Sticky lives on a farm in rural Victoria where he gets up to all kind of mischief.
It is refreshing to read a children's book which has an unmistakably Australian flavour, the stories being set on a typical Australian farm and involving many places and animals characteristic of Australia. Reading the stories is also made more enjoyable by the illustrations which accompany them.
The lessons that are learnt from Sticky's experiences are cleverly linked to the lessons that Jesus gives in the Gospels. The messages or morals of the stories centre around teaching children about living a Christian life. Some of the themes are honesty, being an example to others and thinking of others first.
Stories about animals are often so appealing to children that it is an effective way to introduce them to the Gospel message. In this book, farm life and everyday situations become interesting and can teach us Christian values in the process.
Catherine Sheehan is a Melbourne Catholic writer.