'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 13 November 2015

A Myer Christmas Window Tribute: Little Dog and the Christmas Wish

For sixty years, Melburnians have been celebrating Christmas with a visit to the Myer windows in the Bourke Street Mall. Over the years, an array of beloved children’s books have been the feature, including Alice in Wonderland (1961), Snugglepot and Cuddlepie (1970), Peter Pan (1990), The Eleventh Hour (1998), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2003), Wombat Devine (2006) and Russell’s Christmas Magic (2012).

Melburnians have always felta strong connection to the Myer windows; reminiscing childhood, looking on with wonderment, and anticipating which story will be told in next year’s window. It was no wonder that in Myer’s 60th season of window displays, a very special book needed to be chosen.

So when John Kerr, chief designer and artistic director of Stage One, saw a children’s picture book late last year by Melburnians Corinne Fenton and Robin Cowcher, he knew instantly it would be perfect for the 60th celebration.

Little Dog and the Christmas Wish was published in October 2014 by Black Dog Books and launched in Melbourne’s Block Arcade by Melbourne’s Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle. Set in the 1950s and featuring iconic sites of Melbourne, the story follows the journey of Little Dog who desperately tries to find his way home to owner Jonathan before Christmas Day.

The book showcases the Hopetoun Tea Rooms, Flinders Street Station, the Regent Theatre, the Block Arcade, the Skipping Girl Vinegar sign and W-class trams, and also devotes an entire page to the Myer Christmas windows.

Photo Credit: ©Copyright 1999-2015 Myer Pty Ltd

Corinne Fenton remembers sitting in the Hopetoun Tearooms in the Block Arcade taking notes as sheworked on ideas for a book. She remembers looking out the window andimagining a little dog lost in the rain in the middle of the city. ‘‘I started making rough notes from there,’’ she says. ‘‘That is where it started. Because it was building up to Christmas, I was able to get the spirit of it.’’

Joined by Jennifer Hawkins, Myer CEO Richard Umbers, The Hon. Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, Channel Seven’s Rebecca Maddern and Santa, the award winning duo, Fenton and Cowcher, were delighted and overwhelmed to attend the official unveiling of the Myer windows last Tuesday.

“It has been mind-blowing to see what I had pictured in my head come to life,” Corinne said.

And to top it off, as she walked past the Window’s animated tribute, Corinne was humbled and honoured to see a mini replica of herself, sitting in the Hopetoun Tea Rooms jotting down the story ideas for what will certainly become a children’s classic.

Photo Credit: ©Copyright 1999-2015 Myer Pty Ltd

Little Dog and the Christmas Wish was published by Black Dog Books in October 2014. Read our interview with Corinne Fenton about the book and our review of Little Dog and the Christmas Wish for more information about the story.