Tohby Riddle, Milo: A Moving Story, Allen & Unwin, April 2016, 32pp., $29.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781760111632
Riddle’s story revels in the freedom of a ‘dog’s life’ aptly set in New York. Milo has friends, a job and time for games, singing and adventure. A bad night’s sleep makes him grumpy and he is rude to a good friend. The discomfort of guilt is carried into the storyline as a raging hurricane moves his kennel (and himself metaphorically) to a precarious position.
The choice of font, muted coloured pencil line, the characters’ clothing, the songs they quote and the architectural skylines all point to a mid 20th century dating of the story but personally I cannot determine a reason for this other than Riddle’s usual charmingly idiosyncratic style. The juxtaposition of simply drawn characters against complex backdrops of photographic collaged cityscapes offers a meaningful focus on the dogs’ relationships. For me the dual media affords the separate dimensions of anthropomorphism and incorporated dream scenes to unite.
Readers will be carried through the story by classical compositions and an artful use of white space. The story is charming; laugh out loud funny in places and a thoughtful study of friendship. Suitable for 4-8 year olds.
Reviewed by Liz Anelli