A stray dog on an outback farm is the unlikely hero in a new children’s story written by Kingsthorpe author, GJ FoxhallThe Ballad of Scrag Ends is the enchanting tale of a little boy who is rescued from a dam by a mongrel stray. The illustrations were created by Dalby artist and primary school teacher, Kylee Jane Cooke. Mrs Foxhall said the story, written as a bush ballad, was inspired by Australian rural life and the poems of balladier Banjo Patterson. She also has a deep admiration for the contribution dogs make on outback farms, where life can be extremely tough.

“Stories of drowning children saved by loyal farm dogs made me imagine the unlikeliest doggie hero of all – an unwanted, mangy, flea bitten old mongrel – who comes up trumps and averts a tragedy,” she said. “I named him Scrag Ends, a term for the cheapest cuts of meat from the butcher.” Mrs Foxhall has said that she enjoyed seeing Scrag Ends’ story come to life in pictures. “When I took the story to Ms Cooke for illustration, she really captured the spirit of this wonderful creature, as well as rural life in the West,” she said.

Mrs Foxhall was raised in country Queensland and has five children, 21 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. At 72, she loves to read, travel, study foreign languages and write. “Reading is something I have always enjoyed and nothing’s better than seeing new generations of young children develop the same love of books,” she said. “I often look to the children for inspiration. It’s easy for older folk to forget how truly delightful they are.” The author has another book aimed towards young readers coming out later this year. The book follows the adventures of a little girl who builds a Sand City. Mrs Foxhall is also known for her publications, including a number of children’s stories: Kanga’s Christmas Delivery and What the Magpie Saw.

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