PaperTigers’ Book of the Month: Dingo’s Tree by Gladys Milroy and Jill Milroy

Our newest PaperTigers’ issue is now live and  focuses on cats and dogs in multicultural children’s literature – a topic that was suggested by my 12-year-old daughter, who is animal fanatic.

Among the many highlights in the issue is our interview with Aboriginal elder and storyteller Gladys Milroy, in which she discusses her children’s book  Dingo’s Tree, co-authored with her daughter Jill Milroy, who is currently Dean of the School of Indigenous Studies at the University of Western Australia. Dingo’s Tree is published by Magabala Books, Australia’s oldest independent Indigenous publishing house, and is PaperTigers’  Book of the Month. Look for our review of the book soon and in the meantime enjoy this wonderful review that Emma Perry at My Book Corner has graciously allowed us to reprint.

Located in Australia, My Book Corner provides book reviews on an entire assortment of children’s literature and is a great place to visit and find out what is hot in the world of Australian kid and YA lit. We reprint some of My Book Corner’s reviews under the reviews tab of the PaperTigers website.

Gladys Milroy and Jill Milroy,
Dingo’s Tree
Magabala Books, 2012.

Reviewed by Emma Perry at My Book Corner

Divided in to four short chapters entitled Dingo’s Tree, The Raindrop, The Tree That Walked and The Last Tree this is a poignant story about man’s destruction of the landscape and its impact on the landscape, natural resources and the animals who depend on them for survival.

Penned and illustrated by mother and daughter team Gladys Milroy and Jill Milroy this is a picture book which gives voice to the very real threats on Australia’s landscape. Mining. The beauty of its narrative, combined with the Milroys’ warm illustrations ensure that Dingo’s Tree will leave a lasting impression.

This deceptively simple yet powerful parable begins when Dingo is unable to find a tree of his own. He draws one and so begins the magical yet sad centre of this parable. The tree grows and grows too tall even for the moon to view the top, then in the aftermath of a cyclone it disappears. As a single, beautiful raindrop appears on a tiny tree, arguments ensue as to who owns it, however a much more pressing matter soon emerges.

The selflessness of crow who flies for miles each day to supply Little Tree with water, is set in parallel against man …

“mining is cutting too deep for the scars to heal. Once destroyed, mountains can’t grow again and give birth to the rivers that they send to the sea.”

The character of the Dingo continues to emerge as one of wisdom and reason, the rain drop must be reserved, saved for Dingo who will know when the time is right.

The ending is gorgeous and poignant, you can not fail to be moved by the final poetic lines followed by Dingo and Wombat’s final conversation…

An ever timely message about environment and man’s role in preserving and maintaining it.

Dr Anita Heiss’ review of Dingo’s Tree can be enjoyed here.


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