Reviewed by Deborah Mackenzie
Christmas is a time of dreams and magic; this magic was receiving a book or two, where after all the excitement of opening presents, eating our full we would sit down and a story would be read out to us, bringing life to the words on the page, the illustrations came alive dancing on the pages. We learnt of characters young and old, far flung places filled with wizards, magic and more. But I cannot recall ever reading or hearing about disabilities and how they too have dreams, golds and how they make them come true.
Danny’s Dream shows us that no matter what we put our mind to, there is always a way regardless of obstacles put in the way. Let us explore Danny’s Dream…
Danny’s Dream was born through the collaboration between illustrator Ian Parker, a mouth painter with the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists (MFPA) and author Victor Margiotta. Together they work for two long years bringing the story to life through pictures that were remarkably painted by Ian using his mouth. The idea was initially sparked when Victor was watching the Paralympians competing at the Olympic Games and now, we have an utterly unique children’s book; hopefully the first of many to come.
Danny’s Dream is a story of a young boy who has a difficult life living with his strict stepfather who got him to chop wood daily. Whenever Danny had a moment to spare, he would run through the meadow into the forest, where the animals greeted him as a friend. He eventually finds his special place, high up in a tree on a deck, where he would lie and dream of becoming an Olympic gold winner.
Life changed in a matter of moments when he fell out the tree, lying unmoving on the ground a woodcutter found him and raced him off to hospital. The result was Danny would never walk again; now he was not any use to his stepfather he was shipped off to live with his grandmother. Like all grandmothers she gave him as special a life as possible, but Danny felt his dream was now lost.
One afternoon he discovered a forgotten shed at the bottom of the garden, after some effort he got inside and discovered a strange wheelchair. Danny soon mastered using this chair and found he could fly again, with the wind in his hair and his dream started to come back.
The 35 bright and very distinctive illustrations made me realise how talented Ian is; how he has made his dream come true, by acting and persevering and not focusing on what he could not do.
As a mum of two children who has disabilities, I am thankful that when they were young my dad said to me ‘let them be who they are, not what society thinks of them as’. How absolutely true his words have come to be; both my children now adults are independent and look forward in life, filling their dreams.
This book is unique and needed in society so that people do not make classes of those who can and cannot. It encourages us to speak openly and truthfully about those who are different, it teaches us that we all have talents and can be what we put our mind to.
Ponder a while on this…we all have dreams, so many of us do not act on them, this disables us as a person as we do not strive for our goals. Imagine a world where no one acts on that one special dream. Nothing would ever be achieved, built or conquered.
This product can be purchased from the MFPA website here.