A huge thank you to Kelly at Love Books Tours for organising this tour and to Gill White and Fledgling Press for the review copy of this special book to read and review with honesty.
Everybody in the kingdom is supporting the brave knight Leo in his battle against his fearsome dragons. They try lots of different things to help him defeat them but eventually Leo realises that the most important thing to do is to believe in himself. This beautifully illustrated book with a poignant and uplifting rhyming story encourages children to persevere and find strength in the face of adversity, even when it seems that nothing is working. Written by Gill White for her son Leo who suffers from Ohtahara Syndrome, an extremely rare form of epilepsy, and beautifully illustrated by Fife artist Gilli B, this story has been positively received by parents of children with complex needs, by care workers and medical staff and by parents of healthy young children who love the book simply as an adventure story. All royalties from the sale of this book will go to CHAS (Children’s Hospices across Scotland).
I have to be completely honest here and admit that I fell in love with this book before I’d opened the first page. As well as the enticing child-like illustration on the front cover, this book was written by a mother for her son Leo who has Ohtahara Syndrome and the love for Leo just oozes out of every page.
The lightning dragons live inside Leo and with the help from family, friends and a variety of characters he is brave and battles the dragons until they go away. The story is written in rhyming form which will delight any young child and allow them to participate by guessing the rhyming words. At the back there are suggestions to turn the story into an interactive sensory performance which completely appeals to the teacher and SENDCo in me. What better way to make a book accessible and bring a story to life. Genius!
The illustrations are captivating and help bring the story to life for younger readers. Every page is bursting with colour and action and the pictures provide as many discussion points as the text does.
I’ve read several children’s books that explain and include characters with a variety of disabilities/syndromes etc and all do a good job but there is something special about Leo and the Lightning Dragons. It explains Ohtahara Syndrome in the most child friendly and wonderful way that the youngest children can understand on an appropriate level.
This is a stunning book and I would love to hear that the author writes more stories to explain other difficult concepts to children.