Shiloh and Dande the Lion

Embrace diversity, accept others, and courageously be yourself!

Children - Concept
33 Pages
Reviewed on 04/07/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Shiloh and Dande the Lion is a picture book for children written by author Ciara L. Hill and illustrated by Christian Krabbe. A bright and colorful read which encourages its young readers to “Embrace diversity, accept others, and courageously be yourself!”, this is a work that can be used as a read-along or as a great starter book for independent readers to enjoy. The story focuses on Shiloh, a young boy who finds that he is bullied in his new school because of his skin color. When Shiloh makes a wish in his garden, Dande the Lion arrives to teach him about the wonders of diversity, and help him find his inner strength.

Author Ciara L. Hill and illustrator Christian Krabbe have come together to create something truly beautiful. This is a wonderful journey from cover to cover, filled with positive messages and enlightening ideas that will help the target audience to really understand some of the big issues about diversity from an early age, and in simple terms. The different creatures, bold use of color, and chunky art style work really well to give strong visual engagement for readers, and Hill’s storyline keeps us following a magical fantasy story, weaving its subtle lessons in along the way. Nothing feels overdone or lecture-like, but the book is filled with learning and respect from top to toe. Overall, Shiloh and Dande the Lion is a book that every child from every background ought to own and read: a truly special find.

Jack Magnus

Shiloh and Dande the Lion: Embrace diversity, accept others, and courageously be yourself! is a children’s concept storybook written by Ciara L. Hill and illustrated by Christian Krabbe. Shiloh’s first day of school left him feeling dispirited and disappointed. He had been looking forward to school, but soon discovered that the kids all thought he was different because of the color of his skin. Shiloh’s mom suggested he see being different as being very special. She told him there was no one like him. She also shared with him the reason she and his dad chose his name, which meant peace. Shiloh understood what his mom was trying to say, but still, he couldn’t help feeling hurt by his experiences that day. When he went out into the yard, he found a beautiful yellow flower that he brought to his mom. She asked him if he knew what made dandelions unique? As she discussed the flower’s special meaning, he glanced at his favorite toy, a yellow lion, and decided to name him Dande the Lion. That night, he and his friend went on an adventure that helped Shiloh understand everything his mom was saying.

Ciara L. Hill’s Shiloh and Dande the Lion is an enthralling fantasy about a boy and his pet lion and their adventures. Kids, especially when they are new in school, so desperately want to belong, to feel the security of being like the others, that they lose sight of those things that make them special and one-of-a-kind. This fable brings that message home beautifully. Hill’s story is an ideal selection for storytime in school. After-story discussions can have children share what makes them different or special. Christian Krabbe’s illustrations work perfectly with the text, and the depictions of the underwater scenes from Shiloh’s dream-adventure are brilliant. Each brightly colored panel could be framed and hung in a child’s bedroom. Shiloh and Dande the Lion is most highly recommended.

Katelyn Hensel

Shiloh is starting at a new school where he feels different. With the wise counsel of his mom, he learns about wishing on dandelions and then takes an adventure with his very own stuffed lion, Dande, to learn about differences and how each person, lion, or flower is special and unique and worth getting to know.

In Shiloh and Dande the Lion, Ciara L. Hill does a wonderful job of capturing the fearful emotions a child might experience when starting at a new school, as well as tackling sensitive issues like race. As a mother of a mixed-race child, this really hit home for me. I appreciated that this was a book I could use as a tool for my son in the future to help him understand how his skin color might be perceived in a school that is predominantly white and how to handle that if bullying occurs. Heady stuff for the children's section but oh so worth it!

The illustrations are well done, with warm, summery colors building the background of the scenes and rich depictions of Shiloh, his mom, and Dande the lion as well as the fantastic creatures like seals and mermaids. Shiloh and Dande The Lion is an adventurous little story that dabbles in the fantastical while staying grounded in reality and what we know. Ciara L.Hill succeeded in capturing real-life issues in an easy-to-digest manner, while still keeping the fantasy elements that will hook children and hold their interest and have them bringing this book back as a favorite time and time again. A great, timely read!

Aisha Holland

Shiloh and Dande the Lion is the perfect love letter to not only our brown children but ALL children. It encourages children to love themselves for who they are and to be courageous. My children absolutely loved the story and the illustrations were captivating. This book is a true gem!