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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Dandi Ade’ (Ah-Day) McLion is, you guessed it, a dandelion. She goes by the name Dandi and she has a lot to say. She’s rather concerned about the lack of respect people show dandelions. People destroy dandelions, calling them weeds, when in fact dandelions are pretty flowers, edible and therefore considered to be herbs and they attract pollinators like honeybees. Dandi wants to tell the world and change people’s opinions on dandelions, so her mom tells her to use her voice and speak out on behalf of the world of dandelions. Dandi does just that at the next town hall meeting. She shares some interesting facts about dandelions, like their long history which dates way back to ancient times when people loved and respected the flower.
Patrice McLaurin’s picture book, Dandi McLion Has Her Say, is a clever way to teach young readers (and their parents and guardians) the wonders of dandelions. The educational value of this story is multi-layered; it’s more than a fact-sharing story about dandelions. The plot follows one perky dandelion, Dandi, as she sets out on a mission to re-educate people about dandelions. She talks about prejudice and how people shouldn’t judge others, even dandelions, for their differences (or perhaps I should say unique qualities). She talks about treating everyone and everything, including dandelions, with empathy and compassion. She talks about standing up for what she believes in and speaking out. The language is simple for the most part, but big words like prejudice and empathy are explained clearly and there’s a wonderful glossary at the end. Children love to learn new words, the bigger, the better. The author varies the font size, type, and color to emphasize important points. The illustrations are imaginative, bright, and colorful. Brilliant, educational and entertaining, this is a beautiful story. Loved it!