Tag Archives: children’s books

I just saw that  my publisher, Schwartz & Wade, have a site where you can see the covers and selected pages of each of their books. Now, I thought that was cool enough. If someone is looking for a book for their child, this is the perfect place to go shopping without leaving the comfort of their chair, couch or bed.

Even better, I noticed that the banner for the page is from my book, The Dandelion’s Tale. Well, that just made my day!

Stop by the page and see all of the absolutely wonderful books and worlds that Schwartz & Wade has to offer.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/schwartzwadebooks/with/10697365146/


What to Read to Your Kids

"The Dandelion's Tale" by Kevin Sheehan & Rob DunlaveyJP has decorated his summer journal and is ready to record our adventures (here’s hoping his motivation extends past the first week). Many of these adventures will take us into nature, where there are always metaphors to be discovered about life. Take, for example, our vegetable garden: each morning we wake to budding strawberries, and each evening we return to discover that they have been devoured by the squirrels and cardinals (how dare the latter betray me after I sung their praises right here?!). There’s a lesson somewhere in there about patience and not expecting to get things right the first time. And so we return to bed with renewed hope.

The Dandelion’s Tale (Ages 4-8), a new picture book by Kevin Sheehan and Rob Dunlavey, offers us another metaphor, this one about the fleeting, cyclical nature of life. This gem of a book takes what can be a…

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I saw this on the Mental Floss channel on YouTube and just had to share. Some amazing stuff in here. Which fact blew you away the most?


I was recently honored to be interviewed on Mr. Schu’s legendary blog (www.mrschureads.blogspot.com)! This is my first interview about The Dandelion’s Tale. Read on to find out my personal opinion on the importance of school libraries, the relationship between Sparrow and Dandelion and my favorite picture book when I was young, many, many moons ago.

Mr. Schu started a sentence, and it was my job to complete it. I have to try this method when I do interviews.

The Dandelion’s Tale tells the story of a puffy, white dandelion who is worried that once her remaining seed pods blow away, no one will be left to remember her. A passing sparrow hears her cries and befriends the tiny flower. As she tells the sparrow her life’s story, her new friend writes it all in a dry patch of dirt so it can be read over and over. It’s tale of friendship and the cycle of life, as the dandelion’s tale is passed on to the next generation of bright, young dandelions that grow in the meadow.
dandelion mr schu
 
Rob Dunlavey’s illustrations are simply perfect. His beautiful artwork really captures the heart and soul of the story and are far more than I could have ever expected. When Schwartz & Wade made their offer, I had a mental image of what I felt the illustrations should look like. When I was growing up, I was a huge fan of the little Golden Books. I didnt’ know Rob and we had no interaction, so I was both curious and nervous while I waited for his final product. I almost fell off my chair when I saw the first set of proofs. It was exactly, and I make no exaggeration here, the way I pictured and hoped it to be. A lot of parents will get nostalgic when they see it for themselves.
School libraries are an essential part of every child’s education and development. I learned so much from the books I checked out over the years and I’m especially grateful to all of the librarians who helped a little voracious reader expand his interests. Going down to the library was always the highlight of my week in school (next to lunch and punchball games at recess!). That’s where my love of books really blossomed. I wouldn’t be a writer today if I hadn’t gotten that initial exposure to books in my school library.
Mr. Schu, you should have asked me what my favorite picture book of all time is. The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge by Hildegarde Swift is the first picture book I remember treasuring when I was in first grade. It also came with a floppy record that read the story to me and had all kinds of sound effects and music. I would read that book and play the record multiple times a day. The best part was learning that it was based on an actual little red lighthouse under the George Washington Bridge. It’s only 10 minutes from my house. Whenever I see it, I feel like a kid again.

I have to admit, I’ve been blown away by the reception The Dandelion’s Tale has received. Reviewers and readers have been so positive. When you write a book and have a chance to share it with the world, there’s always that voice in the back of your head, worrying what the feedback will be. Writers always assume the worst. 🙂

Booklist just printed the following review and I thought I’d share it with everyone.

Dandelion’s glory days are coming to an end. Her bright yellow flower has evolved into just 10 seedpods, and she is concerned no one will remember she ever existed once the seedlings blow away. When Sparrow learns about her fears, the bird suggests writing down Dandelion’s memories. The two happily collaborate: Dandelion reminisces about squirrels and meadows, and Sparrow pecks the memory in the dirt. The morning after a storm, Sparrow discovers Dandelion didn’t survive and neither did her story. But all is not lost. He can tell her story and finds the perfect audience: new little dandelions that started as 10 seedlings. The charming illustrations are in blues, browns, and greens when the bird and plant are conversing, and tinged in golden light when memories are related. The ink, watercolor, colored pencil, crayon, and digital media pictures have an old-fashioned feel and showcase the moving story of keeping memory alive. Although sophisticated in concept, this feels right for the age group and would be beneficial in helping children cope with losing a loved one.

It’s been such a thrill to walk into bookstores and libraries and find copies everywhere. Random House/Schwartz & Wade have been amazing every step of the way. I’m busy getting story time and appearances lined up throughout the rest of the year, so hopefully I’ll be in your neck of the woods some day!

If anyone is interested in a school visit (in-person or remote), just contact me through the comments here and I’ll be happy to see if I can accomodate. It’s been a while since I was in school. It will be fun to see how things have changed. Do they still give detention? Ah, the glory days.


I know I’m going to date myself here with this, but when I was in grammar school, aside from recess, my favorite part of school was getting the 4 page book catalogue. They were handed out every quarter. My parents encouraged me to read and would let me pick out 2 to 3 books each time it came around.

Trying to choose which ones to get was always harder than hitting a curveball (which I never figured out – but I could throw one!). After I gave my teacher the slip with my payment, I counted the days until we’d get a call to send someone to the office to bring up a box. Within that box were all the books we kids had ordered. I used to volunteer to get the box. It got me that much closer to my coveted books.

And oh what a wonderful smell when we opened the box. I swear, if someone creates a cologne or perfume that smells like new books, I’m buying a lifetime supply.

Those days are loooong gone, but as a writer, I still get to experience that thrill when my author copies are delivered. Today was one of those special days. My copies of The Dandelion’s Tale are finally in my hot little hands. I’ve waited almost 4 years to actually hold a copy. And that smell. Can’t beat it.

DT Books


Rob Dunlavey is the incredily talented artist who crafted the illustrations for The Dandelion’s Tale. I thought you’d find it fascinating to see how his creative process worked when coming up with the illustrations. So cool to see the concepts grow (kinda like a dandelion)!

Whenever I look at Rob Dunlavey‘s work, I want to sit down with a big pile of crayons, paint, and paper, and get my hands really dirty, because he makes it look just that easy and playful. I am, therefore, delighted that he’s making the move into children’s books. I hope he stays a long while.

THE DIRT ON: Rob Dunlavey

Hometown: I grew up outside of Chicago on a small farm. My father was an engineer and my mother was a singer. They had eight children and wanted to live off the land.

Now lives in: I moved to the Boston suburbs in 1985 after graduate school in Los Angeles.

Years in the business: Approximately twenty-five years

Tools of the trade: mixed media of all sorts. Very immediate and lo-tech followed often by some digital heavy lifting as required.

Biggest influences: There are…

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