Wednesday 20 July 2022

Milly and the Mulberry Tree

Milly and the Mulberry Tree by Vicki Conley and Deb Hudson (EK) HB RRP $24.99 ISBN 9781922539120

Reviewed by Kathleen Grace

Here is a picture book for children aged 4 to 8 years about growing up, family, and home. It explores our ties with nature and places in a way that will resonate with young readers who like playing outdoors or have their own special hideaway. It also holds an inspirational message about the importance of exploring new worlds as we grow, while keeping home close to her hears.

One day Milly helps her Papa plant a tree. He tells her it’s a mulberry tree, and she, cutely, calls it a ‘bulberry twee.’ As Milly grows, so does the tree. Eventually the tree is large enough to support silkworms which become Milly’s first pets: she calls them Silky, Milky and Wilky. When they weave themselves inside their silky cocoons, Milly waits until they hatch into moths. “‘I’ll remember you forever,’ said Milly.” On her 5th birthday, she discovers mulberries are magical. “And magically, they transformed into pixies, lanterns, and feather boas.”

As Milly grows, she discovers the delicate fabric that her silkworms created. She sketches gowns from the mulberry shapes in her memory and eats white mulberries under red lanterns. She even drinks mulberry leaf tea. When she is married, she dresses in silk and celebrates her wedding under the mulberry tree.

This book for readers aged 4 to 8 years, is full of colourful, whimsical illustrations, and fly pages, with scenes of a mulberry tree with mulberries, silk cocoons, silkworms, and moths, that are colourfully and eye-catchingly vivid.

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