Floating off under its parachute, a dandelion seed makes a difficult journey and lands in an unpromising place, but in the end, it fulfills its dream of making flowers of its own. Anthony and Arbo turn the journey of a familiar weed seed into a parable of perseverance. Detailed pencil-and-paint illustrations show the tiny seed floating off from the lush green countryside and soaring over what appears to be a college town. (Just to underscore the mechanism, hot air balloons are depicted making a similar journey.) But the town buildings and streets, though nearly empty of humans and cars, are not hospitable. There’s a sticky spider web, a woman with a broom and a cavernous parking garage. The seed ends up in a discarded yellow Styrofoam container on a trash-filled lot. Winter comes and goes. In spring, an ethnically diverse cleanup crew transforms the area into a community garden; the seed flourishes nearby. An afterword introduces this weed/flower, describing its parts, its history in North America and its potential for classroom studies of plant life cycles. Building on the pair’s The Dandelion Seed (1997), this glorifies the seed’s patience and persistence, and it makes clear that this well-known plant can be much more than a weed. A simple story with more than one message. (Picture book. 4-7)
–Kirkus Reviews – Vicky Smith (July 25, 2014)
This sequel to The Dandelion Seed (Dawn, 1997) literally begins where the previous volume ends, using the final illustration in that book to begin this story of a dandelion seed’s journey. Instead of drifting over idyllic natural landscapes like its predecessor, this seed floats to a city. Rather than falling into “rich, soft earth,” the seed ends up in a Styrofoam container in a junk-strewn lot. Only after a clean-up crew arrives in spring to prepare a community garden can the seed put down roots and fulfill its dream of blooming. Minimal text on colorful spreads facilitates group sharing. Two pages of information and suggested activities about dandelion growth, seed dispersal, and related topics will help adults plan ways to extend learning. Together with the original, this book should stimulate discussions of themes, such as patience, beauty, and courage, as well as a debate about a dandelion’s status as flower or weed. Libraries without the earlier volume might consider purchasing the pair, although the new book can stand alone.
–School Library Journal – Kathy Piehl (Nov. 19, 2014)
In The Dandelion’s Big Dream, a dandelion seed imagines its future as it floats into the air. Hoping to become a flower, the seed instead is faced with a series of real world obstacles, such as being caught in a spider’s web or in a Styrofoam box. Eventually, the seed finds a patch of spring soil, and it knows just what to do. This follow-up to The Dandelion Seed, also exquisitely illustrated by Cris Arbo, further exemplifies how well this husband and wife team combines words and pictures to convey simple yet vital nature stories. Aimed at children aged four to ten, this book would appeal particularly to those living in urban areas.
While capturing the life cycle of a seed, it helps children dream about what they may one day become. The words and text play off each other in a delightful way: what the seed describes as a “cave” for example, is illustrated as a parking structure. Though it is not mentioned in words, we see in the pictures a group of neighbors converting an empty lot into a community garden. The end result is a powerful and fulfilling story, deceptively simple on the page.
–Green Teacher (Winter 2015)
In this follow-up to 1997’s The Dandelion Seed, husband and wife team Anthony and Arbo show a seed beginning a long journey with a blow from a child. “Anything seemed possible as it soared above the earth.” Floating through the countryside and into the city, it falls first into a spider web and then becomes trapped in a styrofoam container. All seems lost as it spends the winter in an abandoned lot full of trash. The arrival of spring brings a group of people who clean up the lot to create a community garden. The seed falls onto the ground as the container is picked up, and finally realizes its dream of becoming a beautiful yellow dandelion.
The story and lovingly detailed illustrations provide a gentle lesson on patience and perseverance. Children will also increase their appreciation for nature, and will learn to be mindful of their surroundings. Each page contains just one or two sentences, and the book makes a good choice for a storytime as well as one-on-one sharing. Back matter includes information on dandelions, a discussion on whether dandelions are considered flowers or weeds, and dandelion-related activities for teachers. This is a nice selection for both school and public libraries.
–Catholic Library World – Blinn D. Sheffield (March 2015)
The Dandelion’s Big Dream, much like a tale by Dr. Suess or E.B. White, takes us on a flight of imagination and into a daydream that will linger in your mind for a lifetime. Best of all, it offers a destination that matters to all of us, children and adults alike: awe, respect and, ultimately, love for the intelligence and diversity of plant life. How fitting that Joseph Anthony and Cris Arbo’s lovely book for children should be published at the same time as Dr. Jane Goodall’s Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants. In Dr. Goodall’s timely book you have the ideal pilot’s manual for The Dandelion’s Big Dream.
–Nathan Gray, Founder and Co-Executive Director, Earth Train
What happens when you blow on a dandelion and send the seeds into the sky? The little dandelion seed in this story gets trapped in a spider’s web, swatted by a broom, lost in a city, and stuck in a fast-food container! But through it all, it never loses its dream of becoming a flower like its parents. One day, someone picks up the container and the seed falls to the dirt. A walker’s foot pushes it into the soil, and it begins to grow! A bright yellow flower pops out — its dream has come true! And the circle of life continues as many more dandelion seeds are released into the air. An “Explore More” section at the end of the book provides little-known information about dandelions (which grow on every continent except Antarctica) and asks the question: Are dandelions flowers or weeds? Ask kids what they think!
–Susan Heim on Parenting (September 12, 2014)
Call it “the little seed that could.”
A dandelion seed floats in the air and rides the wind, patiently waiting to be deposited onto the rich soil below. But in an unfortunate landing, the seed finds itself stuck in an open Styrofoam container. Many seasons pass, but the lonely seed never gives up its dream of becoming a flower. Then one day, the seed’s luck changes. It falls out of the container and is pushed into the ground. It grows into the golden yellow flower it has been wishing for all this time.
In what could otherwise be a basic introduction to the plant cycle, Anthony uses anthropomorphism, giving the seed feelings and desires, to spruce up this tale. Readers and listeners will find themselves routing for the little seed and will feel satisfied with its happy ending. Arbo’s realistic artwork is rich with detail for children of all ages to examine and enjoy.
If used as a classroom read aloud, there are many opportunities for discussion and comprehension: Why are some plants considered flowers while others are called weeds? How does littering interfere with nature? Themes of courage, patience, and perseverance will allow second and third graders to make connections to their own lives. Back pages include a diagram of a dandelion and its different life stages, as well as related DIY activities to do with children. More classroom resources can be found on the publishers website: dawnpub.com.
–Grade Reading – Sue Poduska (May 14, 2014)
The Dandelion Seed’s Big Dream is a sequel to the children’s picture book, The Dandelion Seed. It follows the drifting journey of a feathered dandelion seed through the air, past countryside scenes of green to an urban setting, through cement buildings and sidewalks and littered alleys, coming to rest at last among discarded wrappings and trash in a forgotten spot of urban earth. But the dandelion seed had a big dream and refused to give up, even through a long winter. Spring came, and hands took away refuse and trash and prepared the vacant earth for urban gardens of growing things. The dandelion seed knew just how to cooperate with helping hands, sun, rain and earth, it grew and blossomed! Many more seeds also grew and blossomed from their dreams in their own time, and every one made the world more beautiful. Incredibly detailed natural illustrations express the hope and joy of The Dandelion Seed’s Big Dream, along with the darker obstacles and messy delays to be overcome with patience and persistence. Connecting children with nature is a respectful valued theme of The Dandelion Seed’s Big Dream, along with its prequel, The Dandelion Seed. Both volumes are created by a well-matched husband and wife author/illustrator team with a far-reaching vision of harmony with man and nature.
–Midwest Book Review – James A Cox (October 2014)
This tenacious little seed never gives up hope despite its bumpy path in life. The Dandelion Seed’s Big Dream sends an inspiring message—with a little determination dreams can come true. This dandelion seed is also accepting of all the challenges in life it faces.
Trapped in a spider web, getting hurt and nearly losing its parachute and traveling into a dark cave—yet anything still seemed possible in its eyes. The author teaches a great lesson to children about setting goals and working towards accomplishing them.
The illustrations are equally as beautiful as the message this book sends. An added bonus is the appendix at the back of the book. It teaches little known facts like the origin of the name dandelion, the dandelion life cycle and projects that can be used in the classroom to teach young students about dandelions.
I love the many possibilities this book offers—it has something for everyone.
–Vegbooks – Jane Coco Cowles (Sept. 15, 2014)
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Do you consider the dandelion to be a flower or a weed? This second book in “The Dandelion Seed Series” follows the flight of a dandelion seed on its parasail from the countryside to the city as buffeted by the wind, caught in a spider’s web, and trapped in trash. All through its journey, it has a dream. What is that dream? And will it ever achieve it? Author Joseph Patrick Anthony and illustrator Cris Arbo are a husband and wife team. Their first dandelion book, The Dandelion Seed (1997) contains the messages of wonder, beauty, and acceptance. The two also collaborated on In a Nutshell (1999) about an acorn and the life cycle of an oak tree. Both are available from Dawn Publications.
The Dandelion Seed’s Big Dream emphasizes the themes of courage, patience, and perseverance. Because the dandelion lives life fully, flies with beauty, survives storms, endures darkness, and never gives up, it is one of nature’s greatest success stories. Dandelions can grow where other plants cannot. And like dandelions, each of us can make the world a brighter place. The trick is to bloom right where we are. The “Explore More” section in the back includes further information about dandelions and suggested activities to help children understand, appreciate, and apply the story. I understand the problems that dandelions can cause in some people’s yards, but I happen to like the bright blossoms of the dandelion, and I also like this book.
–Homeschool Book Review – Wayne Walker (August 21, 2014)
Seed dispersal—how plants spread to new places—is an exciting nature topic. There’s probably no better plant to teach kids about seed dispersal that the dandelion, for many kids regularly pick and blow the seeds off them (and many adults will recall with fondness memories of doing this). In The Dandelion Seed’s Big Dream (Nevada City, CA: Dawn Publications, 2014), Joseph Anthony tells the story of a single dandelion seed as it is carried through the air in a city landscape. Will it find a place to settle in soil and grow into a flower? The seed comes across several obstacles, but eventually finds a home at a community garden. After little yellow flowers finally pop up, new seeds are dispersed and the journey starts again. While this simple yet meaningful story is about a seed, one can take away from it that life is a struggle with hardships but they can be overcome through courage and perseverance. As with all of Dawn Publications’ titles, the illustrations—by Cris Arbo—are full of color and warmth. In the back of the book, Anthony includes factual information about the natural history of dandelions, discusses how they are viewed as beautiful flowers by some or as annoying weeds by others, and offers some ideas for educational activities to learn more about dandelions and seed dispersal.
–Exploring Portlands Natural Areas – Michael Barton (Oct. 24, 2014)
The Dandelion Seed’s Big Dream is terrific support for teaching life cycles as well as seed dispersal systems. I particularly like that it is about dandelions which are common and easy to notice.
–Susan Rauchwerk EdD. – Lesley University, School of Education (Sept. 12, 2014)
I found the factual information in the back of the book extremely valuable. It provides the reader with a whole new perspective of the value of dandelions. The obvious research is very much appreciated.
–Diana Dove – Dove Environmental Education (Sept. 12, 2014)
The Dandelion Seed’s Big Dream by Joseph Anthony is such a beautiful book. Not only are the illustrations so detailed and intricate, but the story of the dandelion seed is full of the beautiful themes of courage, patience, and perseverance. We always love that the stories from Dawn Pub offer great information and activities in the back of the story to enhance learning!
Consider the dandelion. It lives life fully, flies with beauty, survives storms, endures darkness, never gives up. It is one of nature’s greatest success stories. Like dandelions, each of us can make the world a brighter place. The trick is to bloom right where we are.
–Your World Natural Blogspot – Cara Nitz (September 5, 2014)
This tale of the journey of a simple seed turns out to be surprisingly suspenseful. Sure to inspire a deeper appreciation of not only dandelions, but of the web of life that connects us all, this lovingly told and beautifully illustrated tale will appeal to anyone who has yearned for a place to grow and bloom.
— Terra Brockman, Founder of The Land Connection, author of The Seasons on Henry’s Farm
The Dandelion Seed’s Big Dream is also a delightful little book. Its recommended ages are 4-10 as well, but I think younger children would enjoy it as also. The text is simple and not very “wordy”, so I don’t think they would get distracted easily.
The pictures are also very colorful, realistic, and vibrant, which I think children will enjoy as well. I was very impressed with the illustrations in this book as well. The illustrator, Cris Arbo, really hit the nail on the head.
As far as the subject matter, my first thought was, “Why would they pick a dandelion seed? No one likes dandelions.” But, as with most things, I thought about it some more and formed a different opinion. Dandelions are actually quite useful, though most people still view them as weeds. You can make salads with them and make plenty of herbal remedies as well. Some of dandelion’s other uses are touched upon in the back matter of the book, so hopefully grownups and children alike will start to appreciate those yellow “weeds” in their yard more!
I also liked the main message of The Dandelion Seed’s Big Dream: Don’t give up on your dreams no matter what obstacles you face. The tiny little dandelion seed just wants to grow up and be a pretty yellow flower like his parents. While his fate is out of his hands for the most part since he can’t exactly get up and walk where he wants to go, I think the book still has an underlying message to “work hard to make the things happen that you desire.
— Mixed Bag Mama – Alicia Owen (June 6, 2014)
The Dandelion Seed’s Big Dream is about a dandelion seed who has a fluffy parachute and encounters urban obstacles and opportunities. This story teaches children that dreams don’t always come easily, sometimes you have to wait and just keep trying.
As usual the illustrations are beautiful. As we were reading about the dandelion seed, my son would ask me what the words were for things in the pictures and correctly identify things when asked. I like that the book is big (there is a nickel in the photo to show size), the pages are very easy for my son to turn.
When he gets a little older there are activity suggestions in the back and online. As a parent and a homeschooler I think these are great! You can choose from the sock walk, Two Seeds- Two Journeys, or do both!
— Cheshire Cat – Jenny Cornelison (September 10, 2014)
“Once a little seed took to the sky. It had a dream…”
The tiny seed soars, filled with possibilities. But the wind shifts, it nearly loses its fluffy parachute, and it ends up in the wrong place. But it would not let go of its dream
What I like about this book: While the text tells the universal story of hanging on to one’s dream—a bit philosophical for any seed—the illustrations tell the “true” story of seed flight, overwintering, and germinating in the spring when conditions are just right. They also show the story of children and their adult friends coming together to clean up a bit of trash-strewn land and turn it into a community garden. I especially like the ending—and the underlying thought that dandelions are beautiful and have a place in our world.
There’s also good information in the back: a detailed introduction to dandelion plant parts, and short discussion on “flower or weed” as well as some history, and some things to do.
— Sally’s Bookshelf Blogpost – Sue Heavenrich (October 3, 2014)
Do you know that one memory I hope to never forget of my oldest daughter Brooke involves noxious weeds? Like most kids, Brooke is fascinated by all things found in nature and those ‘lovely’ dandelions that coat our lawn happened to be a particularly favorite topic for her as we walked along the grass. She thought they were just the best flower ever! I tried to explain how most people do not like these yellow flowered florets that turn into white seed heads that pollinate and take over your lawn…….and she always looked so puzzled as to why that would even be a problem. More dandelions = MORE dandelions! As she likes to say, “Hippie-Hoorah!” I still laugh as I remember her running into the house one day yelling, “I got you flowers, mommy!” and handed me about a half a dozen white seed-headed dandelions that had littered her path over the carpet inside. She looked proudly at me and said, “Now we can have dandelions INSIDE, too, mom!” and I said, “Thanks, Brooke.” Nice thinking.
The Dandelion Seed’s Big Dream is the latest book by Dawn Publications that tells a tale of the life and determination of a dandelion seed. My preschooler finds this topic fascinating and would get quite upset when the seed head would have trouble making contact with the earth during the course of the story. It is so sweet to read it to her! Our favorite line: They Bloomed in Their Own Time.
It is a great way to talk to your kiddos about things like seed dispersal and even the underlining theme of a life’s path filled with courage, patience and, ultimately, perseverance. Who would have thought we could get so many great lessons from that yellow weed!
— Mama’s Bacon – Jeanna Bellvile (July 13, 2014)