Thursday 21 April 2016

Milo: A Moving Story

Milo: A Moving Story written & illustrated by Tohby Riddle (Allen & Unwin) HB RRP $29.99 ISBN 9781760111632

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

‘Milo led an ordinary life. He lived in a solid kennel in an okay part of town and had few complaints.’ Thus begins this new picture book by well-loved Australian book creator, Tohby Riddle. Milo is an anthromorphised dog with friends and a job as a messenger which takes him across town.

One night Milo has a dream which leaves him unsettled and gruff with his poet friend Snombo. That day a ‘largish rabble of moths fluttered by’ followed by other odd things. When Milo awakens the next day, he discovers his kennel has moved and is now perched on a ledge of a skyscraper. Enter a bird named Carlos…

This is an odd book which has a kind of surreal feel about it. It ends strangely, too, with this reviewer not sure what the ending means. Is this a story about the power of dreams, about the effect of dreams and of change or the value of strangers and of friendship? Perhaps it is all of these things. What is for sure is that this book captures one’s attention.

The illustrations, which use darkish tones throughout, are eye-catching and worth studying from the fly pages where Milo is pursued by this dog friends to those pages where Riddle incorporates photos, such as of ancient buildings. The views from the top of the skyscraper of the city below are excellent! It would seem that the images are created by computer and yet they seem natural and enchanting.

Towards the end of the book, Milo, back in his old home territory, thinks ‘Isn’t life a mystery?’ Just like this book!

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