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February Dragon/Thiele, Colin/Paper/1741102391/S035-F
Bottlebrush Barn, the home of the Pine family, lies halfway between Melbourne and Adelaide. A peaceful pasture and scrub, the farm is linked to the township of Upper Gumbowie by a winding road that skirts the uncleared Big Scrub. Along the road a school bus lollops and lurches, carrying the children of the district - the three young Pines, Don and Debbie Dobson, 'Burp' Heaslip, and others - to school.
The story is concerned with their daily adventures, such as fishing for yabbies, taming unusual pets, exhibiting in the local Show, astonishing their teachers, and using turpentine to cure their dogs of scurf. Like all of Colin Thiele's fiction, the book is more than a collection of lively anecdotes. It is the story of the fearful February Dragon - the bushfire - and how, when unleashed by the stupidity or the arrogant carelessness of people such as Aunt Hester, it brings tragedy to hundreds of innocent victims every year.
This moving story, which was written with the encouragement of the Bushfire Research Council of South Australia, contains a message for all Australians, young and adult alike.
February Dragon was Commended by the Children's Book Council of Australia, 1966.