The Dog Runner

Author(s): Bren MacDibble

NZ Middle Fiction

From the author of the multi-award-winning and bestselling How To Bee comes an intense and thrilling new adventure.


'We're gonna starve if we stay here,' Emery said. 'If we're gonna go, best go now.' And he said it like going was something easy. Like all we have to do is walk away.


Ella and her brother Emery are alone in a city that's starving to death. If they are going to survive, they must get away, upcountry, to find Emery's mum. But how can two kids travel such big distances across a dry, barren, and dangerous landscape? Well, when you've got five big doggos and a dry-land dogsled, the answer is you go mushing. But when Emery is injured, Ella must find a way to navigate them through rough terrain, and even rougher encounters with desperate people...

Ruth's Review:


A red fungus has destroyed the world’s food supply and many people are starving. Dad is trying to find Ella’s Mum who hasn’t returned from work at the solar power station for several months, leaving Ella and her half-brother Emery with their three dogs for protection. But the situation becomes more critical, so Emery decides they should travel up country by dogsled to find his mum.


Their journey is filled with danger in the rough outback terrain, having to find food and trying to avoid other desperate people. When Emery is shot, 10-year-old Ella has to use all her wits in order to help them survive in this lawless new world.


MacDibble’s heart-warming novel How To Bee won the junior fiction category in the 2018 NZ Book Awards for Children & Young Adults and also in the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s awards and the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. Her YA novel In the Dark Spaces (under the pen name Cally Black) also won the YA category in the 2018 NZ awards. With The Dog Runner’s themes of climate change and survival, MacDibble has created an exciting and moving page-turner set in a scarily believable scenario for ages 9 to 13 years. Highly recommended.

$19.00(NZD)

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Winner of the Junior Fiction Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award in the 2019 NZ Book Awards for Children & Young Adults CBCA Shortlist: Book of the Year-Younger Readers  

CBCA Review:A fast-paced and compelling narrative set in a clearly established harrowing dystopian world. The reader becomes engaged with the plight of the children, wanting them to survive their challenging ordeal. They encounter a range of obstacles, many in the form of adults with ill intention, as they seek to reunite with their parents and safety. The narrative is the strength of the novel. The characters are authentic; Ella and Emery are brave and resourceful throughout and have much to learn. Both key protagonists are appealing, easily likable and also flawed, which adds to their authenticity. Ella’s voice, as narrator, uses a distinct grammatical style and the language throughout is pared down. The writing is beautiful and strong. The use of descriptive language adds depth to the reading experience. Themes of protecting the environment and valuing Australian Indigenous culture emerge through the action, and the notion of grass seeds as a metaphor for finding one’s place is suggested in the last chapter.

Bren MacDibble was raised on farms all over New Zealand, so is an expert about being a kid on the land. After 20 years in Melbourne, Bren recently sold everything, and now lives and works in a bus travelling around Australia. In 2018, How to Bee - her first novel for younger readers - won the Children's Book Council Book of the Year Award for Younger Readers, the New South Wales Premier's Literary Award Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children's Literature, and the New Zealand Book Awards Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction. Bren also writes for young adults under the name Cally Black.

General Fields

  • : 9781760523572
  • : Allen & Unwin
  • : Allen & Unwin Children's Books
  • : May 2018
  • : length:- 19.8cm width:- 12.8cm
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Bren MacDibble
  • : Paperback
  • : English
  • : 823.92
  • : Younger Readers
  • : 239