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Too Many Cheeky Dogs

DION BEASEY’S ICONIC art combined with Johanna Bell’s writing talent was a recipe for delight back in 2013 when Too Many Cheeky Dogs was published, quickly becoming one of NT’s best-loved picture books. This year, the Cheeky Dogs are back, but now in a new language: Kriol!

By Greg Dickson

Bigismob Jigiwan Dog is the title of the Kriol edition of Too Many Cheeky Dogs – a collaboration between the original authors and publisher Allen & Unwin, and a Ngukurr-based Kriol education program called Meigim Kriol Strongbala (Make Kriol Strong).

The Kriol translation is the real deal. It is the first time a major publisher has released a commercial Indigenous language translation of an existing title. This move brings Indigenous languages into the literature translation industry that we see so commonly across the globe.

Locally though, Bigismob Jigiwan Dog is a huge win for Kriol speakers, of which there are around 20,000 across the NT and WA. With few resources in their own language, Kriol speakers have a new brilliantly illustrated and vibrant story they can enjoy reading in homes and classrooms.

Carol Robertson, one of the main translators in Ngukurr is proud of the end result.

“Im meigi yu eksaided det wi bin dum buk gada Kriol. Im meigim mi laigim mijel.” (It makes you excited that we did a book in Kriol. It makes me proud.)

The book’s translators worked further with Allen & Unwin to help make the book accessible for English speakers, too, with online resources – including an audio reading, pronunciation guide – and a 15-page teacher’s guide freely available on the Meigim Kriol Strongbala website.

Bigismob Jigiwan Dog is available now at various locations including The Bookstore Darwin, Red Kangaroo Books, Aboriginal Bush Traders, Top News Katherine and The Finch Café in Katherine.


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