Thursday, 5 March 2015

Blog Tour Review Lili by Wen Dee Tan (Children's, Picture Book, 10E/10E)

The competition to win this is after the review!
15th February 2015, Fat Fox, 32 pages, Hardback, Review copy

Themes: friendship, differences, 

Summary from Fat Fox
Lili is an ordinary little girl. Well except for one thing, she has fiery red hair. Lili finds it hard to make friends with there fiery red hair, but one day Lili finds the village children lost in the deep dark woods and her briery (and hair) leads them all home safely. Lili is a beautiful story of overcoming rejection and being accepted for who you are – something that will resonate with children and adults everywhere.

Nayu's thoughts
On this particular blog tour Fat Fox is asking reviewers to chat about their personal feelings towards the book, how they relate with Lili, etc. Because I do just then when I normally review books, I'm putting my thoughts in this part of the review. 

Lili is a deceptively simple picture book. The style of drawing with no colour other than Lili's hair draws all attention to the orange flames. It is all too easy to imagine the hardship Lili faces - yes she may be able to heat up her own bath water, but when it rains would her hair go out? Or does it make the rain evaporate? She would be so unpopular in snowy weather since she could probably melt a snowman. My heart went out to Lili as she was rejected for being herself. She couldn't help having her hair any more than we can 'help' having two arms and two legs. It's a part of her which both she and others needed to accept.

Having fire for hair causes no end of problems for the children she plays with. I think this is a fair depiction of how children and adults see anything which makes someone different from what is considered normal. By the way, normality doesn't exist! Yet people create barriers when there don't need to be any. I confess to thinking that Lili's parents may have turned out to be like Roald Dahl's Matilda's parents, in that they would abuse her hair and make her be a modern day cinderella, but thankfully they didn't.

Like the first few children who came off worse for wear from Lili's hair, some people see difference as huge obstacles which aren't possible to climb. Thankfully there are many people who think outside the box and see how the so called problems can be turned into solutions. I remember when I was at school, sometimes my friends enjoyed the fact that I needed to rest a lot for medical reasons because it meant they could spend a bit of time chilling by a beanbag I had for resting! It made for a comfier story time. 

These days I don't go out a lot because I find it tiring. That doesn't stop me from having friends like Lili's who appreciated her hair was just one of those things - as well as being perfect for toasting marshmallows - my friends know that when I do go out and visit them I embrace the time we have together, trying to fill it with fun things to last me until I next see them.

Lili's tale is a gateway for optimistic thinking and problem solving, shows what the true meaning of friendship is, and encourages helping others and being inclusive with everyone you may meet. 

Find out more on Wen's website.

Suggested read
I've reviewed a lot of picture books which deal with differences; in Specs for Rex by Yasmin Ismail, (Children's, Picture book, 10E/10E) Rex does his best to avoid using his glasses, then finding they are rather useful after all. 

Competition has ended
This is an adorable logo
It's competition time! The lovely people of Fat Fox are offering one UK reader not only a copy of Lili's story but it's a signed copy! How cool is that?! Simply fill in the form below to enter.
A signed version of Lili could be yours!

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