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Crow Baby

By Helen Milroy

Reviewed by Mia Macrossan

Helen Milroy is a descendant of the Palyku people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Her many publications include Bush Birds, Owl and Star and Backyard Beasties, all reviewed in StoryLinks.
Long long ago a crow spirit entered a human baby, named Daisy Crow,  who is welcomed by both her human and crow families. The child has a crow spirit and a human spirit which makes her very  special indeed. The crow baby is given a guardian by the crows, Arrk, and together they roam the land, learning about the landscape and talking and cawing about many things. Daisy is all set to become a healer for her people.
One day a bushfire threatens the human community and Daisy is the only one who can warn them in time, but only if she transforms into her crow form. Whatever she decides there will be permanent consequences.
There is a surprising lot of text presented in a friendly white font on pages which are rich in subdued colour and indigenous art themes. The one bright thing that stands out is Daisy’s yellow dress. I love stories about crows which  are common in children’s stories. Often they are harbingers of good or evil. Here Arrk is a gentle guide, a companion and representative of his community of which Daisy is also a member.
This story about belonging to two worlds rewards rereading. It introduces key First Nations concepts of dream journeys and spiritual gifts. The circular plot brings the tale to a beautiful conclusion that is thematically and structurally very satisfying.
Children will enjoy this story and possibly envy Daisy her two forms. Who wouldn’t like to fly like a bird?
For readers aged 6+
Fremantle Press 2023
1942 Amsterdam Ave NY (212) 862-3680

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