Safe and Sound


32 pages
ISBN 0-88776-633-1
DDC jC813'.54





Illustrations by Anja Reichel
Reviewed by Patricia Morley

Patricia Morley is professor emerita of English and Canadian Studies at
Concordia University. She is the author of several books, including The
Mountain Is Moving: Japanese Women’s Lives, Kurlek and Margaret
Laurence: The Long Journey Home.


Inspired by the travel accounts in their extensive library, two small
dogs called Safe and Sound set off to see the world. They have, they
believe, all that they need—namely, bravery and a gift for writing.
Their naпveté, difficulties, and disillusionment make for a riotous
tale. Moreover, their travel journals are all in verse.

In London, they find that cars drive on the wrong side of the road. In
the Alps, the view is great but the airlift proves to be horribly scary.
Europe, the dogs decide, is not their cup of tea: “The money’s funny
colours. We are stymied by the phones. / The cinema is tainted by
salacious overtones.” Indeed, Europe presents them with one
disappointment after another. Spain serves dinner at bedtime, and
Venetian boatmen are so foolish that they stand up in boats.

Every country brings fresh surprises and disappointments: “We can
guarantee that in Japan they eat with sticks. / That Africa has spiders,
South America has ticks.” In short, Safe and Sound are delighted to
get back home: “Home, whose little station they approached with
gladdened hearts. Home, where they could find their door without the use
of charts.”

This entertaining travel story by Barbara Nichol, winner of the Mr.
Christie’s Book Award for Biscuits in the Cupboard, will delight young
children and adults alike. Anja Reichel adds humour to the story with
her colourful oil paintings showing the dogs in a range of situations in
various European settings. Highly recommended.


Nichol, Barbara., “Safe and Sound,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024,