For most people, the thought of dandelions brings thoughts of desperate efforts to eradicate them from their yards.

But for Zoe, dandelions are a symbol of hope. Hope that her mother will feel at home on the prairies of Nebraska. Hope that their sod house will soon feel like home. Hope that the family will survive the move from Illinois in tact.

Dandelions by Eve Bunting tells the story of Zoe and her family. Her papa is excited about starting anew on the prairies. Her mama is not so sure. She’s expecting a baby, she misses her family back in Illinois, and the nearest neighbor is a three-hour wagon ride away.

One day Zoe goes with her father to town, leaving Mama and her sister with the neighbors. Her mother worries about Papa finding them again in a land that all looks the same.

On the way home, Zoe spots some dandelions. After her father stops the wagon, she carefully digs them up. After they reach their own soddie on the prairie, she and her sister sneak out of bed and plant the dandelions on the roof for her mother’s birthday.

This picture book, beautifully illustrated by Greg Shed, is for children with long attention spans, or should be read in stages. Although there are many words on each page, Shed’s beautiful drawings will keep childrens’ attention.

Recommended for ages 4 and up.

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