A small dragonfly realizes that size is not what makes someone important in this original folk tale by debut picture-book writer Ramirez.
The Tiki Man speaks for the trees when he proclaims that his people are strong and useful and all-knowing. When Tiki Man asks Dragon Fly what he can do, instead of recognizing his own strengths, Dragon Fly feels small and depressed, unintelligent and unimportant. But one day, a storm brews that could harm animals throughout the land. Although the trees normally carry messages to the animals to warn them of danger, the storm is moving too fast. Tiki Man calls to Dragon Fly and asks him to use his speed and gift of flight to warn the animals to hide. When Dragon Fly comes to the rescue, he recognizes that he doesn’t have to be large or smart to make a huge difference. Ramirez ably creates a likable hero in Dragon Fly, and young readers will identify with the moral that small people can do big things. The prose is approachable for newly independent readers, though they are likely to encounter some new vocabulary. The shift in narration from Tiki Man’s voice to an omniscient narrator in the first few pages may confuse young readers. There is little specific information to indicate a setting; the illustrations indicate a Central or South American setting by the animals depicted in black-and-white illustrations, though tiki carvings tend to be a Polynesian tradition. Knowlton’s delightful illustrations are rendered simply with a black-and-white outline and may tempt young readers to color them in.
A short, original folk tale with a message that young readers will eagerly identify with.