Review Blog

Apr 29 2012

Dingo's tree by Gladys Milroy and Jill Milroy

cover image

Magabala Books, 2011. ISBN: 9781921248436.
Highly recommended for ages 7 and up. When dingo wishes to escape from the hot, summer sun, the other animals refuse to allow him to share their shady trees. Instead, he draws a picture of a tree boasting many branches, each covered in raindrops, on the rock outside his cave. Dingo awakens to find that the tree has indeed grown, tall and straight, directly up into the sky. To his disappointment, however, it has no branches or leaves thereby causing the animals to laugh at him. Over time, the land falls prey to the drought and, whilst the other waterholes dry up, dingo's continues to remain full. Unlike the other animals that have teased dingo and failed to share, he kindly allows each of the other creatures to drink from his waterhole. A cyclone occurs. As a result, the waterholes are filled but dingo's tree disappears. As the earth goes through additional seasons, the animals talk together about their problems and the changes they notice. Crow adopts 'Little Tree' to keep watch over the raindrop it holds and life goes on until even larger problems occur. Finally, when the rivers cease to flow and the mountains are decimated, who will take care of the environment? Will there be a happy ending?
Containing a sobering, cautionary tale about the environment and the detrimental effects of man, this title would make a welcome addition to the classroom library. It could be used as an introduction when embarking on any study of the Australian environment. The custodianship of the land and the responsibility of humans for our native flora and fauna are highlighted in a confronting manner, yet the bright and appealing illustrations make it acceptable to younger children as well. Due to the substantial amount of text, this title is perhaps better suited for middle primary students to read independently but could certainly be read aloud to younger students. This would be perfectly suited to my unit on drought and the Australian landscape.
Jo Schenkel

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