Curious World of Dandy-Lion by Lorraine Hawley and illustrated by Jocie Salveson
Out now from Lawley Publishing; 206 pages
About the author: “I write stories about tweens, teens, and fantastical worlds. While I have attempted to write non-magical stories, my characters have refused to stay reality grounded, leaping off the pages to fly. So I gave up trying to be what I am not. I am a fantasy writer. And I hope to share magic with the world” (Bio taken from author’s website. Extended bio can be found on author’s website).
Find Lorraine Hawley on the following platforms:
About the illustrator: I lost my vision once. Not my artistic vision. I’m talking eyesight. In one eye. It actually took a year to regain almost full vision again. Truth be told: I’m naturally clumsy, and when you match cornea against corner (table corner—that is), the piece of furniture will win every time. The ironic thing is that while I awaited surgery, I was actually vacationing in Greece. I considered myself to be a true walking (stumbling) Cyclops on that trip. All personal drama aside, I constantly see the world as a kaleidoscope of beauty—ever changing, no matter which way I look. And the desire to capture that serenity and honesty while also extracting the stories I see in my mind’s eye have always been central to my art-making.
I am a wife, mother, designer, painter, emerging book illustrator, world traveler (currently living on my third continent) and a permanently-enrolled student of Planet Earth. It didn’t take losing half my eyesight to find my vision or appreciate what I have in this life, but my incident sure did remind me how much we take for granted. I am optimistically excited for the future while I strive to keep focus on my present. Here’s to living in the moment, risk-taking and seeking inspiration every day!” (Bio taken from illustrator’s website).
Find Jocie Salveson on the following platforms:
The Midwest may seem like the most ordinary place to be, yet, for a young girl named Meredith, it’s anything but. Meredith’s life is full of magic, evidenced by her (not so) friendly beetle-friend, Floss. But when Meredith begins to worry that her elderly neighbor, Mr. Dally, has been tricked by her school bully, she decides to do everything in her power to save him. With the help of Floss, her magical surroundings, and a mysterious boy, can Meredith save Mr. Dally and make her world right again?
I did not grow up in the Midwest, but I had a childhood similar to Meredith; that is, I was convinced that everything around me was full of magic and whimsy. Reading about Meredith’s world was like stepping back into my parents’ backyard, with talking flowers, and bees that seemed to whisper secrets in my ear. This story is filled with a sense of wonder. But it’s not all picture perfect.
Meredith faces some real challenges when she embarks on her mission to save Mr. Dally. He was such a sweet character, and I loved the way that Meredith helped to get him out of his shell. Her relationship with her elderly neighbor and her quest to stand up to her school bully, Billy, made me root for her from page one.
I enjoyed Meredith and Mr. Dally immensely, but my favorite character has to be Floss the beetle. Brought to life by illustrator Jocie Salveson, Floss completely stole my heart. The character and accompanying illustrations added a wonderful element of humor and life to the story. I am a firm believer that every child needs an animal companion, and Floss certainly fit the bill for this book! Floss was created beautifully by Salveson, but he was not the only image in the story. With a collection of art in black and white, Salveson perfectly captured the magical feeling of being a young child. Her art was a lovely addition to Meredith’s story, and it helped to pull me into the magic of it all. This is a book I wish I could’ve had as a child, but I’ll have to settle for the wonderful memories it brings. Meredith taught me that wandering through the garden and listening to the nature around you is not only for children—even adults can find a little bit of magic in their lives.
PRR Writer, Sophie Applin