Mark Sperring (text)  & Miriam Latimer (illustrations)(Andersen Press)

A wannabe little knight is desperate to fight dragons with a trusty sword which he can whoosh and swoosh. But his mother has other ideas and instead of a shiny blade gives him a … sunflower. Slightly disappointed, the little knight still goes off to the top of the hill to battle one or two imaginary dragons. But with smoke and fire and the promise of a fight appears a real dragon. Will the sunflower sword be enough?

Peace and Love are the order of the day for this vibrantly-coloured picture book. Our little wannabe knight is all for fighting until the encounter with the red dragon changes his plans. Word spreads and soon entire armies of knights seem to see the error of their ways. What is the point of fighting, when you can be friends? Sceptics might well feel that the ending is by far too idealistic, but picture books are sometimes the best conduit for a bit of over-optimism. Ok, it is not realistic, but children will grow up soon enough to find out that things aren’t quite that simple, so I don’t think it hurts anybody to have a little bit of hope.

I loved the use of colour in the artwork. Orange is vibrant and full of energy and this transpires throughout the book:

 The style is energetic and the characters particularly are quirky-looking; that little knight is a great little character, with a really cheeky smile. There are plenty of details to pour over; my son noticed the detail of the dragon’s tail in this particular illustration:

A lovely book which will make a great read-aloud as well as a pertinent story to illustrate the study of pacifism in the classroom.

Sent for review by publisher.