cover image The Dandelion’s Tale

The Dandelion’s Tale

Kevin Sheehan, illus. by Rob Dunlavey. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-375-87032-3

The character who dies in newcomer Sheehan’s story is a lowly dandelion, but doesn’t make her demise any easier to take. The dandelion, once golden, has just 10 white hairs left, and her last wish is to be remembered. A friendly sparrow spends hours scratching down her stories in the dirt: “She spoke of milkweed and hummingbirds; of dancing butterflies and picnicking families; of busy ants and busier bees.” A storm ends the dandelion’s life and washes away the stories, but Sparrow remembers them. When the bird discovers a new patch of 10 dandelions, he can tell them about their mother. Dunlavey, also making his debut, contributes softly brushed illustrations in watercolor, crayon, pencil, and other media that mix two equally handsome visual vocabularies. The world of Sparrow and the dandelion appears in objective greens and browns, while the dandelion’s past life is rendered in sun-bleached golds, limes, and pinks, faded brilliance just right for cherished memories. The focus on death and commemoration makes this the kind of fable that may find the warmest reception among adults. Ages 3–7. Author’s agent: Louise Fury, the Bent Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Elena Giovinazzo, Pippin Properties. (Mar.)