Some picture books catch you by surprise.
Banjo & Ruby Red is one of those.
When I opened it up, I immediately thought "oh, another story about farm animals chasing each other around the farm."
Which is how the books start - with Banjo, the very busy, dedicated dog chasing all the chooks into their pen. However, Ruby is stubborn and only goes when she wants to go.
One day, when Banjo is rounding up the others he realise that Ruby is missing. When he eventually finds her the story takes a very different turn.
A farmyard clash of personalities becomes a touching story about friendship, caring, tenderness and kindness.
Banjo & Ruby Red has been shortlisted for the 2014 Children's Book Council Early Childhood Award.