“Dilly the Donkey”, text by Elli Woollard and illustrations by Steven Lenton, spent a year in our book bin before little gosling picked it up one day some weeks ago. He has not let go of it since.
Dilly is a “little and wonky” donkey that loves carting children to school until, one day, her owner benches her, replacing her with a “wonderful, winsome, young” horse. Dilly proves she can still be useful by hindering the robbery of the horse entirely on its own and starts a new career as a police helper. Who knew a donkey’s bray could sound like a frightening “nee naw, nee naw”?! 🙂
The rhyming text is fun to read. So many words (particularly verbs) to learn and so much to explore and discover in the illustrations! They are beautiful and rich. One can easily feel transported to a faraway exotic island. There’s a myriad of characters and they’re all very expressive. Dilly is lovable, with her flower decorated straw hat and cute short, chubby legs. Her friends, three crabs and a parrot (that reads!) follow her everywhere. There are so many details to catch a young child’s attention. Little gosling spends a lot of time observing the kids carted to school: facial expressions, clothes, attitudes. He is curious about the one baby who is not wearing shoes and follows him throughout the book (“baby is barefoot”). He has even taken to leave his sandals at home these past few days and if I were to trace it back somewhere, this would be it :))). He loves Dilly’s shed, adorned with colourful fairy lights, just like his house-framed bed. He is also curious about the lemur stealing fruits out of a woman’s basket that Dilly chases whilst working with the police. However, the best moment of all is hearing little gosling going “nee naw, nee naw” around the house :))).