Sunday, October 5, 2008

Review: The Dragonfly Secret

Summary: Love and hope transcend all boundaries when a boy and a dragonfly meet. An impossible encounter? Lea journeys through a beautiful garden to discover the boy’s secret. As she follows his clues, Lea meets people who need her help. And at the end, the unexpected secret is revealed.

Discover the power of boundless love in this heartfelt story of friendship, family, and remembrance. Beautifully illustrated, The Dragonfly Secret gently encourages children and adults to explore life’s infinite possibilities. Because of it, readers may look at nature in an entirely new light.

The Dragonfly Secret is a heartwarming story for family members who have lost a loved one. -- Feather Rock Books

I always jump at the chance to read and review children's books, especially children's picture books. I spend a lot of time reading and then blogging about books; and my children love to help. Every time I read a new book to my four year old son, he asks if he can blog about it! So I was very excited when I was asked to read THE DRAGONFLY SECRET, written by Clea and John Adams and illustrated by Barbara L. Gibson. This book was written for families and uses the wonders of nature to show how people love and remember their relatives.

When I opened this book, my first impression was that it was so beautiful! The illustrations are just incredibly bright and vivid. Each page was filled with gorgeous pictures of nature --butterflies, dragonflies, and lots of trees and flowers. Not only was I blown away by the beauty of this book, but my kids were equally enthralled. My little guy was fascinated with the pictures, and they kept his attention while I read the story.

I really enjoyed THE DRAGONFLY SECRET, and I thought it was a very heart-warming and moving story. I was drawn into the story of a young boy who enlists the help of Lea, a beautiful dragonfly. After a day of playing together, the boy decides to include Lea in on his secret -- he asks her to return to the garden the following day and do three things. Without fully understanding the boy's request, Lea agrees to help her new friend.

At this point, my kids and I were definitely hooked and very curious about the boy's secret. As the boy gave Lea two of the clues, my son really enjoyed "helping" Lea the dragonfly find the items she was she was looking for. As we continued to read, I started to see where the book was going. Of course, my kids didn't have any idea. As the secret was revealed at the end of the story, I found myself deeply affected by the book's ultimate message. I appreciated how the authors tied together the beauty and miracle of nature with the endurance of ever-lasting love. As a parent, I found comfort in this book; and I can understand how this story would help people to cope with loss.

As much as I appreciated the beauty and message of this story, I do think it's important for me to share my children's reaction to the book. My four year old son said that he loved it. This book is geared towards ages 8 to adult, so I didn't really expect him to understand it. He just enjoyed reading it with his sister and me and looking at the colorful pictures. My nine year old daughter, who is pretty bright, said that she enjoyed the book too. However, when I started to discuss it with her, it became clear pretty quickly that she didn't comprehend the story and its message. Even after I explained it to her, she was still very confused. Now maybe she's just not perceptive, but I think this book is much more appropriate for older children and adults than younger kids.

The DRAGONFLY SECRET is a companion book to THE DRAGONFLY DOOR, a story for children coping with loss and change. This book was extremely well received. Some of the awards it won include: Winner of 2008 Benjamin Franklin Award/Cover-Design - Children's; Winner of 2008 Evelyn Thurman Young Readers Book Award; Finalist 2008 Benjamin Franklin Award/Parenting Family Issues; Finalist 2007 Midwest Independent Publishers/Illustration; Finalist 2007 National Best Books/Children's Picturebook; and Nominee for Church and Synagogue Library Associations' 2008 Rodda Book Award. I have not read THE DRAGONFLY DOOR yet, but I hope to read it very soon!

I think THE DRAGONFLY SECRET is truly a gorgeous book in so many ways, from the illustrations to the message about boundless love. I highly recommend it for those children and adults who are trying to find some peace of mind after dealing with a loss of a loved one. I think it's a wonderful book for parents to read with their children to help give hope in times of grief.

Also reviewed at:
Redlady's Reading Room
Diary of an Eccentric


Bonnie said...

Thanks for commenting on my review.
That's interesting that your 9 year old daughter didn't get it either! I think that it may be helpful to read the companion book that is first in the series.

Corinne said...

I just got this one in the mail to review, so I didn't read yours yet :) Nice to see it's out there though :)

Anna said...

Great review. My daughter sort of got the meaning of the story. She knew what had happened to the boy, but didn't understand right away who the old couple was (probably because both of her grandfathers passed away when she was too little to remember them and we live pretty far from both of her grandmothers).

I think it's great that you review so many different kinds of books!

I finally posted my review of The Dragonfly Secret here: