Let me say at the outset, this dreamlike wordless story is an absolute beauty.
It begins one night in a field with a dandelion bud that unfolds into a flower upon which appears a lion’s face: indeed the entire plant morphs into a lion with a corolla of a mane and limbs where once were leaves. A veritable transformation has taken place.
Full of joy, the creature sets out to see the world.
Dashing across the field he leaps onto the funnel of a passing train,
then after a sudden bend in the line, is pitched off again. He lands safely, hitching a ride on the back of a sheep that’s heading for the harbour.
There the lion boards a ship whereon he receives shelter from a rainstorm ‘neath a gull’s wing. The craft is bound for a skyscraper city where he’s dwarfed by the sheer size of both humans and buildings.
Seeking some respite from the overwhelmingness of the big city, our adventurer enters a cinema.
The events of the film sweep him away and in his imagination he becomes pilot of one of the toy planes being flown by a child character.
From up high above what look like fluffy clouds, but are fluffy balls of white seeds, he looks down –
and here reality returns – as he heads towards his very own dandelion field now full of mature seed heads.
There he too sets seed and almost immediately his plethora of parachute seeds are blown skywards, coalescing along with those of his fellow plants, into
Cinematic in feel, this story is superbly paced by the clever use of panelling on some of Yoko Tanaka’s spreads. The graininess and greyness of her illustrations add to the dreamlike quality of ‘dandy-lion’s’ joyful adventure, underlying which is the life-cycle of a dandelion plant.
Out of this world incredible this utterly enchanting book surely is. It’s absolutely amazing where imagination can take you, be you author, illustrator, story character or reader.