Cover image for Animal dreaming : an aboriginal dreamtime story
Animal dreaming : an aboriginal dreamtime story
Morin, Paul, 1959-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Diego : Silver Whistle, [1998]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
A young boy learns from his elder how the animals in the dreamtime created a world in which they could all live in peace and harmony.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PZ8.1.M8255 AN 1998 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area

On Order



Guided by a wise elder, young Mirri embarks on his people's rite of passage into adulthood. Amazed, he watches as ancient rock paintings come to life, detailing the history of his Aboriginal people. The paintings tell the story of the Dreamtime - the period, according to Australian Aboriginal tradition, when animal spirits formed the earth. As he learns the secrets of the Dreamtime, Mirri embraces his own heritage ... and continues the traditions of those who knew the Dreamtime before him.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 3^-4, younger for reading aloud. As in Tololwa M. Mollel's Orphan Boy (1990) and Alice McLerran's Ghost Dance (1995), the dark power and haunting images in Morin's illustrations give the accompanying story a hieratic tone. For what is evidently an original creation myth inspired by stories heard from an Aborigine elder in Australia's Northern Territories, Morin begins with realistically portrayed Australian animals, then transforms them into the stylized forms of rock paintings, the glowing, dotted patterns of dreamtime art, and at last into the story time's hills and rock formations. The story is framed as a ritual tale told to an Aborigine child of an ancient war between the animals that goes on until dreams show the Ancestral Kangaroo, Long-Necked Turtle, and Emu how to give each creature a place in the world. With their sharply defined edges and bright, bright colors, the dream images seem more real than the hazy, impressionistic scenes that alternate with them; tempt young readers into the dreamtime with this, and then with a collection such as Sally Morgan's Flying Emu and Other Australian Stories (1992). --John Peters

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6‘In the frame story, an Aboriginal elder begins to teach his young charge the ways and beliefs that will initiate him into manhood. They walk into the outback and stop to rest at a campsite surrounded by rock paintings. The next morning, the elder tells a creation story based on the paintings. In it, greedy birds decide they want the wetland to themselves, and the other animals fight them. Three creatures do not join in the battle‘a kangaroo, a turtle, and an emu; instead, they go to the place where the boy and elder now stand. The three animals each has a dream connected to water; these dreams are depicted in the stylized paintings on the rock. Upon awakening, they use the power of their dreams to help restore peace. There is no attempt to impose a moral, or to explain what motivates the birds' greed. The power of the book resides in the vividly realistic depiction of the humans and the setting, and the equally vivid but highly stylized representation of the dreaming. Although the palette is dominated by the brown tones of the Australian earth, interesting textures and tonal contrasts give richness to each page. Morin sensitively and effectively draws on Aboriginal paintings in the myth-based sections of the book. His strong compositions and dramatic verve are riveting.‘Patricia Lothrop-Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.