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

Monday 6 June 2022

Review: Alfie The Brave

This picture book is a charming and delightful venture into just what it takes to be bold and brave. On the outside Alfie is sleek and gorgeous - the child of a champion pit bull with rippling muscles and an impressive pedigree. On the inside, Alfie is quite unsure and so stays firmly within his own small comfort zone.

It’s not always easy to live up to our own, or other people’s, expectations. Dear Alfie is afraid of almost everything in his life. 

He finds it hard to walk past a cat, to play at the beach, to meet new friends… Alfie is easily intimidated and seems to be ruled by fear and worry. 

Mostly, he finds (rather funny) reasons to not join in with other activities. But then one day, he behaves instinctively in a dangerous situation and, lo and behold, he saves a life and realises that he can indeed be bold and brave.

Alfie The Brave ventures into territory that every young person will recognise in some way, shape or form. It beautifully and succinctly highlights the idea that most of us have something we’re afraid of. Without seeking to judge or change this, the story leaves us with the sense that we are all okay.

The expressive and totally adorable illustrations complement the narrative in an especially wonderful way. We are shown Alfie’s changing emotional state artfully and with great humour – the endpapers in particular, with Alfie scratching, Alfie sniffing, Alfie sitting (you get the idea!) – are just sublime.

From Australian of the Year Dr Richard ‘Harry’ Harris, a key member of the cave-diving team that rescued the Wild Boar soccer team in Thaliand, and the multi-faceted animator/illustrator Simon Howe, this book has an awful lot to recommend it.

A gorgeous book for people and dogs of every age, Alfie The Brave will certainly resonate with every child who knows what it is to feel less than bold.

Title: Alfie The Brave
Author: Richard Harris
Illustrator: Simon Howe
Publisher: Puffin, $19.99
Publication Date: 12 April 2022
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781761041358
For ages: 3+
Type: Picture Book