We love reading in our house. Before our son appeared in our lives I’d happily devour an entire book in an evening. I do that less often these days, but we wanted to pass on our love of books by reading to the boy right from the start. We even read to my growing belly when he was living in it.
One of my favourite things about being a Mummy is bedtime stories. We have three a night (and unlimited during the day when he fancies a read). We all snuggle in bed and transport our family to faraway lands, following the fantastical pen of children’s writers like Julia Donaldson and Lynley Dodd. The boy loves us doing funny voices, (my reading of The Gruffalo is a triumph). I especially love the rhythmic writing and wrapping my tongue around some of the great words in children’s books, (Lynley Dodd is particularly good at throwing in great words guaranteed to make you giggle).
For his Christening, we asked if people wanted to give him their favourite childhood book. We got some great ones, Rupert Bear, Harry Potter, some Alan Garner and Spot the Dog amongst other great reads.
I thought it’d be nice to share our love of reading, and some of our favourite children’s books in a bit of a mini-series. The boy has chosen his current favourite bedtime story, Dandylion by Lizzie Finlay.
Dandylion is a wonderful book about being different, finding acceptance and making friends. It’s the perfect tale to tell any child. The moral being it’s really ok to be different and wouldn’t the world be a dull, gloomy old place if everyone was the same. Admittedly it’s for older readers (he’s 2 and a half) but we love the beautiful illustrations and the story telling.
As Dandylion (who is ‘delightfully different, bright yellow and rather scruffy’) joins Miss Gardener’s organised and tidy class, the illustrations become more vibrant and colourful. This reflects the delightfully warm impact Dandylion has in his classmates.
At first he doesn’t fit in (he is a weed, but remember a weed is just a wildflower growing in the wrong place). After one particularly messy incident he is sent home and becomes despondent about his differences. But soon his classmates (including Basil and Tulip) realise that being too organised and tidy isn’t always a good thing. A plan is soon hatched to get Dandylion to return to school and to make him feel right at home. At last, scruffy, wild and free-spirited Dandylion feels like a wildflower growing in the right place!
Aside from its heartwarming message, it’s just a good book. Beautifully illustrated, visually appealing and lovely to read out loud to your child. Lizzie Finlay is a talented illustrator and I hope she writes more lovely books along these lines.