Toni and the Dandelions.
Vivian Hitchman. Illustrations by Steve Pilcher.
Music composed by Mark Ferguson.
Oakville: Grassroots Press, 1994. 36pp, cloth.
$19.95 / $25.95 with cassette / $34.95 with cassette and Teacher's
ISBN 0-9695997-1-4 (book).
ISBN 0-9695997-2-2 (cassette).
ISBN 0-9695997-0-6 (book and cassette).
ISBN 0-9695997-3-0 (teacher's kit, book, and cassette).
Distribution by Addison-Wesley Publishers.
Kindergarten - grade 2 / Ages 5 - 7.
Review by Brenda Partridge.
Toni loves dandelions. Every spring, Toni and her pet cat, Roop, play
with the dandelions in the orchard. Toni serves dandelion soup, dandelion
salad and dandelion tea. She makes dandelion bracelets, necklaces and
flowery crowns. When the dandelion flowers turn white, Toni blows the
fluffy seeds into the air. As they float away she whirls and twirls,
dancing the dandelion twirl.
"A weed is just a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
As spring emerges into summer and the lawns and fields fill with golden
dandelions, young children spend much time picking and presenting the
colourful weeds to their favourite adults. When the golden heads turn to
white fluff , those same young children delight in blowing the dandelion
seeds into the world. To provide a permanent recollection of such
memories, Vivian Hitchman has written a delightful, fanciful adventure of
a young girl called Toni.
Toni becomes quite concerned about her springtime fun when her dad
tells her that he is going to "mow down the dandelions in the orchard."
As she lies in bed, gazing at her ceiling mobile of golden lions and
contemplating the fate of the dandelions, the mobile-lions come to life
and start singing a tune. They invite her to follow them through the
window and into a jungle of giant green and yellow and white dandelions.
Toni's journey into the land of giant dandelions allows her to meet
Simon, king of the lions -- king of the dandelions. Together they do the
dandelion twirl until Toni remembers that her dad is going to cut the
dandelions. Simon assures her that she need not worry, and the surprise
ending proves him correct.
Dandelions are familiar to most young children. In this large picture
book, Vivian Hitchman has used this common-place weed to create a
fantasy even the very young will understand. She uses a minimum of
vocabulary on each page to allow the very simple and effective illustrations of Steve Filcher to clearly convey the story to the reader or
listener. I am impressed with the section at the back of the book that
gives the historic origin of dandelions and tells where and why they are
grown. Also included are instructions for three different ways to create
an indoor dandelion garden -- a marvellous idea for a science-fair project!
Grassroots Press tells us that Vivian Hitchman is a commercial
writer and photographer from Oakville, Ontario, who specializes in
producing corporate newsletters and brochures. This multimedia package is
her first project for children. Illustrator Steve Pilcher, from Toronto,
won a silver award in 1991 for his work on Norbert Nipkin and the
Magic Riddle Stone. Composer Mark Cassius Ferguson wrote the
score and Hitchman herself narrates on the tape. She is accompanied by
the St. Andrew's Children's Choir, and several actors who play the
The teacher's activity kit, prepared by the author and Sharyrn
Panchuk, teacher of Mathematics and Design and Technology for the City of
Hamilton, provides 63 pages of activities and blackline masters in the
areas of: Arts; Language; Mathematics; Science, Design, and Technology;
and Self and Society. Of particular interest to Ontario educators is that
all activities are based on the Common Curriculum.
You can download a 26 second audio
exerpt of Toni and the Dandelions in aiff format (198K).
Brenda Partridge is a Library-Resource teacher at Percy Centennial
Public School in Warkworth, Ontario.
Copyright © 1995 the Manitoba Library Association.
Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is
maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
The Manitoba Library Association
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