Review Blog

Jan 31 2009

Dandylion by Lizzie Finlay

cover image

Random House, 2009.
(Ages: 4+) Highly recommended. Dandylion is a weed, who resembles a lion. He joins Miss Gardener's rather orderly class and the other children, accustomed to following rules, are shocked then delighted by the chaos and excitement that Dandylion trails in his wake. However, even Dandylion exceeds expectations when, in his inimitable style, he breaks the rules with a tub of crayons.

It is the children themselves who tell Dandylion that he is just too crazy and troublesome, and is, in fact, rather like a weed. Heartbroken, Dandylion is comforted by Grandpa Clock who reminds him of the messages that every child needs to learn: that being different is special and that we all need surprises to stir up our lives.

Miss Gardener's class are starting to regret their hasty dismissal of Dandylion; after all, weeds are just wild flowers growing in the wrong place. Dandylion returns to school just in time to enjoy a special celebration and at last feels as though he belongs.

Lizzie Finlay's captivating illustrations leap off the page, dancing with excitement and vitality. With touches of collage here and there, a nod towards Lauren Child's hugely successful technique is apparent. But Finlay has her own style; Dandylion is an inspired creation and I hope we will see more of his adventures. I'm sure we have all come across a Dandylion at one time or another and this is a fun story with a serious message about diversity and fitting in. It will make young readers laugh, think and talk. What more can we ask for?
Claire Larson

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