REVIEW: Dandelions by Katrina McKelvey & illustrated by Kirrili Lonergan

Published: 1st October 2015

Publisher: Exisle Publishing (EK Books)

Pages: 32

Format: Hardback, Purchased @ Newcastle Writers Festival 2016

RRP: $24.99

3.5/5 Stars 

Beautifully explores the father daughter bond. A little girl notices her father mowing the lawn – in the process destroying her favourite flowers: the dandelions. She rushes out to stop him, but she’s too late, they’re all gone. There’s nothing for it: she’s just going to have to sit outside and wait until they grow back! But fortunately, Dad has another idea.

Taking her hand, he leads her to the front step, and there, nestled in a crack in the concrete, are two tiny dandelion puff balls. Father and daughter each blow as hard as they can, and the tiny dandelion parachutes spiral and spin, up, up and away, spreading their seeds to create new generations of dandelions far and wide. Father and daughter lie down together on the grass, watching as they whirl and twirl through the air.

Perfect for readers aged 4-9, this is a book that will be cherished by families and recommended by teachers and librarians.

Dandelions is a heart-warming picture book about the relationship a young girl and her father share.

Distraught, a young girl runs out to stop her father from mowing down her favourite flowers, the dandelions. Too late, the father tries to console her and together they find some more dandelions and bond over what it must be like to be a dandelion and where they go. At it’s heart, Dandelion is a story about the relationship a father and daughter share, while touching on the magic and beauty of nature and the world around us. It’s imaginative, clever and thought provoking, not to mention just a beautiful sight to behold and hold in your hands.

Neither of the main characters in this story are named. Told through the point of view of the young girl, the only things we really know bout her in the text is that she is a girl, has a father and loves the magic of dandelions. It’s only through Lonergan’s illustrations do we get any idea of what she looks like – young girl with curly hair- or any real feel for the girl’s personality and character – girly girl, loves pink, day dreams. Likewise Dad is simply Dad; a universal and easily identifiable Australian father dressed in a plain t-shirt, stubbies/shorts and mowing the lawn. No names are given, and oddly it’s not noticeable at all. The exclusion of these names, means the characters identities are easily interchangeable with each new reader that opens the book. All of which makes this particular book not only universally experienced, but timeless, as it’s ground only in the days of childhood and family. All the while pushing the focus of the narrative back onto the relationship the two share and the story of the dandelions.

The fact that this is a book about a father and his daughter makes this book even more special due to the simple fact that most picture books will pare a father with a son and a mother with a daughter when the book focuses on particular parent or child. That’s not to say this is the only book out there that does this father-daughter story, but it’s definitely one in the minority and I really can’t comment McKelvey and Lonergan enough for putting this one out there!

Lonergan’s full page, double spread, and what I suspect are water coloured illustrations are nothing short of jaw-dropping. Featuring mostly green, red, brown, orange and yellow hues, the illustrations really stand out in this book. Not only do they take up the entire double page spread on each page, but they are both simple in design and story, and yet reveal so much about the characters and their relationship. They really showcase the truly magical and special bond this father and daughter share in a way the text can’t due to the universal nature of the characters.

Dandelions is the perfect book for any Daddy’s girl out there. It’s a sweet story that has heart and is just a beautiful piece of work to behold.

To learn more Katrina McKelvey, visit the following social media sites:

Katrina McKelvey’s Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest|  | Goodreads | Youtube


To learn more about Kirrili Lonergan, visit the following social media sties:

Kirrili Lonergan’s Website | FacebookGoodreads


To purchase a copy of Dandelions, visit the following online retailers:

Booktopia | Ek Publishing | Book Depository | QBD | The Nile | Worderly | Fishpond


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