Sunday 15 April 2012

Spoofy by Anthony Holt

This is a departure from my usual vintage children’s book posts because I want to share this remarkable story with you.

"Spoofy" is a new and unique book centred on a tough, lovable, crafty and irrepressible black Labrador who has been a street wise survivor since his birth on a bush farm in rural New South Wales.

In 1971 Spoofy's latest owners must leave for two years in England. With uncanny perception the dog seems to become aware that he will need a new home. He resolves this by attaching himself to a family newly arrived from Dorset, who have left behind their own Cornish born Border Collie, following the Author's appointment to a helicopter squadron in the small Australian Fleet Air Arm.

The flying and adjustment to Australia each bring their own problems and excitement but Spoofy is always there, as companion, supporter, guardian, as well as collaborator and sidekick to the family's toddler daughter - and firm opponent of the landlady. The story is woven with aerial drama, snakes, spiders and other wildlife in a vivid depiction of 'real' Australia, as well as larger than life characters carved from the history of the outback.

This true and often hilarious account also has pioneer Aussie Mr Booth, and the drama of life in a distant, tiny, close knit hard working and hard playing community.

“Spoofy” is a wonderful book, sad, funny and truly heart-warming.  I simply cannot recommend it highly enough. I loved it, and I’m sure you will too.

Published by Pegasus - Vanguard in illustrated paperback available from Amazon

Anthony Holt will be signing copies of Spoofy at Waterstones, Bridport on Saturday, April 29th 2012. Why not call in, say hello and while you're there treat yourself to a copy of this unputdownable book.


  1. Oh wow this book sounds wonderful! I haven't heard of it before but it sounds like a slightly similar story to Red Dog. Any book with dogs in them will always be good in my opinion. It was nice to read a review of a different type of book from you Barbara. Hope you've had a great weekend!

  2. barbaraannefisher15 April 2012 at 09:04

    Hi Megan, it is wonderful! Australia and dogs are two of my favourite things, so it’s the perfect book as far as I’m concerned. I haven’t read red dog, but perhaps I should. Glad you enjoyed the review.

  3. Thanks Barbara - great review and recommendation. I'm always on the lookout for books for my (14 year old) son to read. Like all boys of his generation I have to push him to read a bit (they have so many gadgets and distractions these days!!). This looks like it would be perfect - sounds like a great read and one that would appeal to more than one age group.

  4. I enjoyed your review and think that this sounds like a fun book. I love dog stories and am always curious to read about Australia, so will have to look for it.

  5. Thanks for sharing this book...I haven't heard about it yet! I'll be keeping a eye-out for this book for my children (and myself I think!!).

  6. barbaraannefisher15 April 2012 at 14:02

    Hello Sharon, I think it’s just about perfect for any age group. It's a really engaging read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  7. barbaraannefisher15 April 2012 at 14:05

    Hello Alex, I’m sure you will enjoy it, especially as you like dog books. It will be in Waterstones soon (if it’s not already), or you can always order it online.

  8. barbaraannefisher15 April 2012 at 14:07

    Hello Nicole, you should – it really is a brilliant read. Funny in parts, scary in others (bush fires, snakes and spiders!) but never boring.

  9. how creative. It is sad how many dogs are left homeless. What a nice read.

  10. I love dogs and Spoofy sounds amazing. The book seems like a fascinating read- and I like that it has pictures to go with the true story. Wish I lived closer so I could attend the signing. It is such fun to meet authors and get copies of their books. :) Thanks for sharing!

  11. barbaraannefisher15 April 2012 at 22:32

    Hello Jess, it is amazing it’s one of those books you don’t want to end, and yet you want to read it quickly because you are enjoying it so much.

  12. barbaraannefisher15 April 2012 at 22:33

    Hi Donna, Spoofy had a wonderful life and was never homeless for long.

  13. Oh, this sounds super! I'll keep a look out for it! By chance, I'll be in the west country that weekend but not sure if I can make it as far as Bridport for the signing! Thanks for sharing the info Barbara!

  14. barbaraannefisher16 April 2012 at 14:11

    Hello Caroline, You are very welcome. I know you will enjoy Spoofy! If you do get to the signing please say hi from me. Barbara.

  15. I love it when dogs adopt. They have a keen sense of who the right person is. I'd love to read Spoofy!

  16. This sounds like a wonderful book. Is it for a certain age group?

  17. barbaraannefisher16 April 2012 at 21:24

    I’m sure dogs do have that sense and after reading Spoofy, I’m even more certain.

  18. barbaraannefisher17 April 2012 at 14:58

    Not at all, it would suit anyone from 9 to 90 and probably either side of that as well.

  19. Sounds good, I'll add Spoofy to my to-read list.

  20. barbaraannefisher18 April 2012 at 20:23

    It's such a good read I know you won’t be disappointed.

  21. Michelle Yardley19 April 2012 at 18:27

    Hi Barbara
    This sounds like a really good book. OK so I googled to see if I could find out a bit more about Anthony Holt, didn't find a lot. I wonder where he lived in Australia.

  22. barbaraannefisher20 April 2012 at 08:08

    Hello Michelle,

    I think I’m correct in saying this is Anthony Holt’s first book so there probably isn’t very much online --- yet! This information is from the publishers' website-

    Anthony Holt MBE was a pilot in the Royal Navy for 30 years, leaving as a Commander in 1992 to run the Naval and Military Club in Piccadilly, and then the Army and Navy Club in Pall Mall. His naval service took him around the world, including a two-year spell on secondment to the Australian Navy where he, and his family encountered 'Spoofy'. He is married and lives in Dorset, where he now spends his time writing, sailing his yacht, working as a volunteer Coast Watcher and as a member of the Weymouth Harbour Board, as well as entertaining his four grandchildren.

    Spoofy is set in New South Wales around Nowra – Jervis Bay, for the most part, although the family do travel around on holiday and so on.

    I hope you get a chance to read it, I’m sure you would enjoy it.


I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx