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y separately published work icon Dot and the Kangaroo single work   children's fiction   children's  
Issue Details: First known date: 1899... 1899 Dot and the Kangaroo
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Lost and afraid in the darkening bush, Dot is befriended by a kind Kangaroo. She eats the berries of understanding and is then able to communicate with all the bush creatures, who eventually guide her home.

'The intriguing tale of Dot and her Kangaroo is told by Ethel Pedley with the charm that has made this book an Australian favourite since it was first published in 1899. Now, as then, children will be enthralled by this oldest of Australian classics, it will endure to entertain generations to come.' (Publication summary)




form y separately published work icon Dot and the Kangaroo Yoram Gross , John Palmer , ( dir. Yoram Gross ) Sydney : Yoram Gross Film Studios , 1977 Z1256824 1977 single work film/TV children's fantasy Based on the book of the same name by Ethel Pedley, the story concerns Dot, the young child of an outback settler, who becomes lost in the bush. She is befriended by a huge female red kangaroo, leading to Dot travelling about the countryside in the kangaroo's pouch. The two meet a number of characters on their travels, including a platypus, a koala, and a kookaburra, and have several exciting adventures before the kangaroo eventually helps Dot find her way home.
Creature 2016 single work drama children's

'Creature is a new interactive digital and physical theatre experience based on the much loved Australian story, Dot and the Kangaroo.

'Discover the magical landscape of the Australian bush as you've never seen it before, where large scale 3D projections of familiar animals spring to life and respond to the dance and aerial performers on stage. How long before this unique native wildlife disappears as humans encroach on their habitat?

'Creature invites you to step into an enchanting world to explore how human actions affect the Australian environment.

'First commissioned by QPAC for the 2016 Out of the Box festival for children eight years and under.

'Proudly supported by Brisbane's Child. ' (Production summary)

y separately published work icon Creature John Romeril , 2018 14003174 2018 single work drama

'The classic Australian story Dot and the Kangaroo jumps into the digital age with this stunning new stage adaptation. Featuring breathtaking aerial acrobatics, live music and spectacular 3D projections, you will discover the Australian landscape as you’ve never seen it before. See indigenous flora and fauna, meet creatures in their natural habitat and explore their quirky characteristics amidst the beauty and fragility of the Australian bush. 

'When 5-year-old Dot gets lost in the bush, she is rescued by a kangaroo who gives her magic ‘berries of understanding’ that allow her to follow the languages of all the animals and insects around her. With this new gift, Dot and Kangaroo set out on an action-packed adventure to return her home – an adventure that changes the way she sees the Australian bush and her place within it forever.

'But how long before this unique native wildlife disappears as humans encroach on their habitat? Creature invites you to enter the magical world of the Australian bush to explore how our actions and choices affect the world around us.'

Source: Darwin Entertainment Centre.

Reading Australia

Reading Australia

This work has Reading Australia teaching resources.

Unit Suitable For:

AC: Years 5 and 6 (NSW Stage 3)

General Capabilities

Critical and creative thinking, Ethical understanding, Intercultural understanding, Literacy

Cross-curriculum Priorities



  • Dedication: To the children of Australia in the hope of enlisting their sympathy for the many beautiful, amiable and frolicsome creatures of their fair land; whose extinction, through ruthless destruction is being surely accomplished.
  • Other formats: Also braille and sound recording.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

y separately published work icon From Colonial to Modern: Transnational Girlhood in Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand Children's Literature, 1840-1940 Michelle J. Smith , Kristine Moruzi , Clare Bradford , Toronto : University of Toronto Press , 2018 15039944 2018 multi chapter work criticism

'Through a comparison of Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand texts published between 1840 and 1940, From Colonial to Modern develops a new history of colonial girlhoods revealing how girlhood in each of these emerging nations reflects a unique political, social, and cultural context.

'Print culture was central to the definition, and redefinition, of colonial girlhood during this period of rapid change. Models of girlhood are shared between settler colonies and contain many similar attitudes towards family, the natural world, education, employment, modernity, and race, yet, as the authors argue, these texts also reveal different attitudes that emerged out of distinct colonial experiences. Unlike the imperial model representing the British ideal, the transnational girl is an adaptation of British imperial femininity and holds, for example, a unique perception of Indigenous culture and imperialism. Drawing on fiction, girls’ magazines, and school magazine, the authors shine a light on neglected corners of the literary histories of these three nations and strengthen our knowledge of femininity in white settler colonies.'  (Publication summary)

The Art of the Colonial Kangaroo Hunt Ken Gelder , Rachael Weaver , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: The Conversation , 31 August 2018;

'Since the beginnings of settler occupation in Australia, the kangaroo has been claimed at once as a national symbol and as a type of vermin to be destroyed en masse. In Kate Clere McIntyre and Michael McIntyre’s recent award-winning film, Kangaroo: A Love Hate Story, Sydney academic Peter Chen sums up this stark contradiction: “Kangaroos are wonderful, fuzzy, they’re maternal, and they’re also a pest that should be eliminated wholesale”.' (Introduction)

Fairies in the Bush : The Emergence of a National Identity in Australian Fairy Tales Robyn Kellock Floyd , 2018 single work criticism
— Appears in: TEXT Special Issue Website Series , no. 43 2018;

'The outpouring of national sentiment as the colonies moved towards Federation heralded a quest for the ‘Australianising’ of children’s books: fairy tales were no exception. European fairy folk were placed in, or perhaps transported to, bush settings as authors re-imagined the ways in which the emigrant old-world creatures could claim a place in the Australian environment. This paper explores efforts of the early writers to locate an Australian fairyland in the ‘bush’ and contribute to the transmission of national identity.' (Publication abstract)

Productive Anxieties : Lostness in The Arrival and Requiem for a Beast Erica Hateley , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Papers : Explorations into Children's Literature , vol. 23 no. 1 2015; (p. 73-86)

"The trope of lostness [...] animates complex critical considerations of culture and subjectivity as in Shaun Tan’s The Arrival (2006) and Matt Ottley’s Requiem for a Beast: A Work for Image, Word and Music (2007), where the experience of lostness shapes the protagonists’ journeys, and is understood (like the books themselves) as applicable to children and adults." (Source: introduction)

Settler Children, Kangaroos and the Cultural Politics of Australian National Belonging Affrica Taylor , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: Global Studies of Childhood , vol. 4 no. 3 (p. 169-182)

'This article reflects upon the ways in which white settler children and kangaroos were enlisted into the cultural politics of nation-building and belonging in the early days of Australian Federation. It revisits Ethel Pedley’s turn-of-the-century children’s book, Dot and the Kangaroo, and contextualises it within some of the notable kangaroo/settler events within Australia’s colonial history. It draws attention to the paradoxes inherent in the symbolic association of settler children with native Australian animals in the emerging national imaginary. The article brings early Australian children’s literature into conversation with settler colonial critique and the ‘animal turn’.'

Source: Author's abstract.

Untitled Millicent Jones , 1992 single work review
— Appears in: Reading Time : The Journal of the Children's Book Council of Australia , vol. 36 no. 1 1992; (p. 31-32)

— Review of Seven Little Australians Ethel Turner , 1894 single work children's fiction ; Dot and the Kangaroo Ethel Pedley , 1899 single work children's fiction
Untitled Jo Goodman , 1992 single work review
— Appears in: Magpies : Talking About Books for Children , September vol. 7 no. 4 1992; (p. 30)

— Review of Dot and the Kangaroo Ethel Pedley , 1899 single work children's fiction
Untitled W. V. , 1992 single work review
— Appears in: School Library News , November vol. 24 no. 4 1992; (p. 23)

— Review of Dot and the Kangaroo Ethel Pedley , 1899 single work children's fiction
y separately published work icon Was Lost Gip Really Lost? : Some Representations of the Lost Child in Nineteenth-Century Discourses of Childhood Catharine Vaughan-Pow , St Lucia : AustLit: The Australian Literature Resource , 2009 Z1231837 2001 single work criticism
y separately published work icon Ethel Pedley's 'Dot' Reaches Her Century Jeffrey Prentice , St Lucia : AustLit: The Australian Literature Resource , 2009 Z1256402 2000 single work biography criticism Biographical details of Ethel Pedley's life and works, literary and musical.
y separately published work icon Dot and the Kangaroo Sydney : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1977 Z1365625 1977 single work criticism Discussion of the full length animated movie directed and co-written by Yoram Goss, based on Ethel Pedley's book, including a review by John Hend.
Revisiting Dot and the Kangaroo: Finding a Way in the Australian Bush Ulla Rahbek , 2007 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Humanities Review , February no. 41 2007;
Rahbek suggests that, rather than being a tale of being lost in the bush, Dot and the Kangaroo is in a fact a story of being found. 'It is the indigenous creature who can show Dot how to find the true values of the Australian land and its bush creatures ... Dot learns, this paper argues, the importance of security and a sense of place from these animals, a security they themselves have lost in the wake of the European settlers' arrival.'
Changing Perspectives : The Implied Reader in Australian Children's Literature 1841-1994 H. M. Saxby , 1995 single work criticism
— Appears in: Children's Literature in Education , March vol. 26 no. 1 1995; (p. 25-38)
Last amended 9 Jan 2019 08:57:01