Click for Teaching Notes
Written by Dianne Wolfer
Published by Penguin Random House, 2018
- winner of the 2019 Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Award for 8-10 readers.
- shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Award Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature .
- 2019 CBCA Notable Book
- 2019 Readers Cup novel.
- Now available in Chinese translation (links below).
Check out the cute entrants and winner of the Dress-up your Dog competition
A tiny dog, the runt of the litter, is born on a remote Pilbara cattle station. She shouldn’t have survived, but when Elsie finds, names and loves her, the pup becomes a cherished companion. Life is perfect … until War arrives.
With Japanese air raids moving closer, Elsie’s family leaves the station for safety in the south. But the small dog has to stay behind. After travelling far from home with drovers and a flying doctor, she becomes a hospital dog and experiences the impact of war on north-western Australia. She witnesses wonderful and terrible things and gives courage to many different humans.
But through all her adventures and many names, the little dog remembers Elsie, the girl who loved her best of all. Will she ever find her again?
Reviews and Readers’ Feedback
I just finished reading The Dog with Seven Names and I loved it so much! The ending was so wonderful and so sad but it is the best book that I have ever read (coming a draw with the Shark Caller) and I am so grateful that I was one of the first people to read your book in my school. – Keely, IONA Presentation College.
War is often frightening and bewildering for those whose understanding is limited, like children. But can you imagine how a war would look through the eyes of a pet? That is the premise of this enchanting story seen through the eyes of the runt of a litter of pups born in the Pilbara region in Western Australia. TROY LENNON, DAILY TELEGRAPH
Dog lovers, history buffs and fans of adventure will fall in love with this bundle of fur while learning how war touched our State. HEATHER ZUBEK, WEST AUSTRALIAN
This is a well-researched, well-written novel for independent readers. Because of its nature, written from the viewpoint of an animal, it is the perfect text when working with inference skills with students … It would also make an entertaining and insightful read-aloud for a class of students … This book would suit a range of ages, from newly independent readers to lower secondary age readers who enjoy historical and/or animal stories. LIZ DEROUET, LIZDEROUET.WORDPRESS.COM
Highly recommended . . . Dianne Wolfer’s junior novel is imaginatively written and well researched, exploring the impact of World War II on the residents, soldiers, families and evacuees in the north of Western Australia. The Dog with Seven Names is an excellent class novel for Middle and Upper Primary students. RHYLLIS BIGNELL, READPLUS
An outstanding book set in wartime Australia . . . I would recommend this gentle book to readers age 9+. If you’re an animal lover, let Princess guide you through a book of friendship, love and caring! MEREDITH, AGE 10, SUNBOOKSHOP.COM
A heart-warming story that not only tugs at the heart-strings but also brings to life the events of the early 1940s and their impact on north-western Australia, a region as historically remote to many as it is geographically, in a way that alerts children but doesn’t scare them . . . Independent readers who like animal stories will adore this. BARBARA BRAXTON, TEACHER LIBRARIAN, THEBOTTOMSHELF.EDUBLOGS.ORG
A simply lovely book, with a wonderful protagonist and a great entry to historical fiction for young readers. Highly recommended. SUE OSBORNE, MAGPIES
Although I usually don’t like reading stories about war times, this book changed my mind by telling the story from the dog’s point of view. It gave me a new perspective of the way the war affected people and how they coped with the injuries from bombings up north . . . I think it is an inspiring book because Elsie never gave up hope of finding her Princess and Princess never forgot her Elsie. EVAN ALDERSLADE, AGE 11, WEST AUSTRALIAN
What Dianne Wolfer has done in this new book, with aplomb and sensitivity, is to set the story of a loved dog against the little-known details of events in the Second World War in Western Australia . . . A moving and educative book. Highly recommended. JULIE THORNDYKE, READING TIME
The idea of a dog helping people in need at the time of war just intrigues me! I’d have to say Doc is my favourite character so far as he helps so many people who need help. – Olivia, Geelong.
To research The Dog with Seven Names I travelled to WA’s Pilbara and Kimberley regions. I wanted to visit the wrecks of WW2 flying boats in Roebuck Bay, Broome Museum, the old Port Hedland hospital sites, Dalgety House Museum as well as Marble bar and the bushland around the WW2 Corunna Downs Secret WWII Airfield. At each place I focused on sounds and smells, trying to imagine the area from a dog’s perspective. Here are some photos from Marble Bar and Corunna Downs: More details at For Teachers.
In Broome I visited the flying boat wrecks via hovercraft at extreme low tide and had a serendipitous meeting with Karen Hasselo, the daughter of one of the WW2 Dutch pilots.
Researching a setting like this brings history to life for me and often sparks new ideas that I can weave into the story during subsequent drafts.
Book Week Costume Idea:
Here is Hugo dressed as ‘Flynn’ his favourite of Dog’s seven names.
Reading Time What Dianne Wolfer has done in this new book, with aplomb and sensitivity, is to set the story of a loved dog against the little-known details of events in the Second World War in Western Australia. … A moving and educative book. Highly recommended.
Aussie Reviews Dianne Wolfer has a knack for delivering historical fiction in a form which is at once palatable, well researched, and engaging, doesn’t disappoint with this warm-hearted, loveable book.
Momo celebrating time to read If you enjoy reading Historical Fiction then this is a perfect book especially if you are a dog lover. There were many aspects of the impact of World War II on Australia that I did not know about. Luckily this book does contain a timeline and set of facts on the final pages.
Mt Alvernia College Book of the Week for Middle Year Readers.