Personal stories are powerful things, and children in particular are drawn to them. When I was little I used to beg my aunt to tell me about what her life in India was like when she and my father were little, and the stories she told me help me to understand my father better. Today's picture book is about a dandelion who wants to share her story with others, and about a sparrow who wants to help her achieve this goal.
The Dandelion's Tale
Illustrated by Rob Dunlavey
For ages 5 and up
Random House, 2014, 978-0-375-87032-3
One beautiful summer’s day Sparrow is out flying when he sees a dandelion growing in a meadow all by itself. He stops to rest on the branch of a nearby tree, which is when he hears that the dandelion is crying. Sparrow asks Dandelion what is wrong and she explains that she worries that one day, quite soon, “no one will know I was ever here.” Dandelion no longer has her yellow petals; instead, all she has are ten seed pods, and soon enough they will blow away. She wants someone to hear her stories, and yet there are no dandelions nearby to whom she can tell her tales.
Since Dandelion cannot move, Sparrow offers to write down all her stories in a patch of earth nearby and soon he is busily writing down all the things that Dandelion wants to share with others. She talks about how much she likes “the smell of the meadow after it rains,” and how much she enjoys “talking with the squirrels as they look for food in the morning.” Sparrow hears about all the things that Dandelion has “seen and loved.” Sparrow reads back what he has written down and Dandelion is very happy.
As evening falls Sparrow says goodbye, promising that he will come back the next day, but that night there is a big storm and when Sparrow returns to the meadow Dandelion is gone, blown away by the wind and rain. To make matters worse, Dandelion’s story, which Sparrow wrote in the earth, has also vanished. Poor Sparrow is heartbroken.
This beautifully written picture book celebrates the power of stories, which, when they are shared and told, keep the lives and experiences of others alive. Children will be delighted when they see how the story unfolds and how, after all, Sparrow is able to honor Dandelion just as she would have wished.