||Jungle House Publications
||June 2, 2005
DILLO is the story of a baby armadillo born on Sanibel Island, Florida with a permanent smile on her face. Her jealous sisters leave her lost and alone in a wildlife refuge where Snout, the alligator lives. On her sometimes frightening, often fun, and always educational journey home, Dillo learns she can make friends, be courageous, express and defend herself, and forgive those who meant her harm. This is a can't-put-down must read for kids.
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Jungle House Publications
Sanibel Island Bookshop
Jungle House Publications
8 ½ " X 11" Hardcover
64 fully illustrated watercolor pages
Reading level 6 and up.
ISBN - 10:0976933209 13:9780976933205
"I was born this way and I smile whether I like it or not. I am not smiling inside, but you would never know it. Even when I want to look mean and show my teeth, everyone laughs at me because they think it's just a big grin."
This is a lovely book, thoughtfully prepared, and beautifully written! The map is a nice touch, as is the information on Bailey Tract and the animals and vegetation in it, both in the pages before the story begins, and at the book's end. Separating the animals in to 'friends' and 'foes' is clever. The birth scene is gently told with just enough detail for it to be realistic, but not so much detail to confuse a younger reader. That Dillo is different from her sisters, and is kicked away from getting some of her mother's milk makes her an instantly sympathetic character: yet the sister's reaction to her is also understandable since Dillo does seem to get special attention from her mother. Dillo's plight of being lost should generate much sympathy from a child reader, adding to the character's likeability. Yet there's humor too, as when Dillo thinks Bob Cat wants to eat her for dinner. The writing is very well done, musical and poetic, and nicely advances the story. The characters are well developed and likeable, yet behave in 'real animal' ways. The illustrations are beautifully done and help make the animals come alive; they all look realistic yet have such expressive faces. The book's lesson on being 'brave and wise' is a good one, as are all the subtle lessons on accepting and understanding each other: for instance, the Bob Cats need to eat meat; the way all the characters band together at the end to help defeat Snout.
Roen's Library, review by Gary Roen
Marmma Armadillo delivers four babies. Their names are Lillo, Pillo, Jillo, and Dillo. As the babies grow Dillo’s three sisters are consumed with jealousy. They feel their mother loves Dillo more than them. They take Dillo out into the wilderness and leave her to fend for herself. She also has a little problem. For some reason since she was born she always smiles no matter what is happening around her. She is scared but finds encounters with other animals of the area are not as bad as she has been led to believe. They quickly become her friends. Kyle L. Miller has created animal characters that are well defined, interesting, and fun. But I have to add that the backdrop of Sanibel Island is also part of the mix of this delightful tale.
I loved this book that is geared to children, but is just as appropriate for adults with its many messages. Some of them are what happens when envy is obsessive, negatives can be turned into positives, the power of friendship, and turning the other cheek and moving forward in life. Also there is a lot of symbolism that readers will be able to pick up for themselves. The artwork by Randon T. Eddy adds another dimension to the work that helps move the story along.
Schools should use the book to apply lessons to children on how to get along with each other. This is a wonderful story that should find many different audiences. I look forward to seeing
Amy Williams , News Press, Ft. Myers, FL
'Dillo' follows a lost armadillo's adventure on Sanibel Island. She's a little critter with a big smile--and for Dillo, that means big trouble. Dillo is the heroine of a new book of the same name, written and illustrated by two Sanibel residents: Kyle Miller and Randon T. Eddy, respectively. Set on the island's Bailey Tract, and inland piece of the J. N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, 'Dillo' follows a lost young armadillo as she tries to find her way home. Dillo's big challenge is her permanent smile--actually a birth defect. Though it wins her extra attention from her mother and other animals, that smile so annoys her three sisters that they conspire to lead her deep into the nature preserve and leave her. How Dillo finds her way back and the friends she makes along the way are the basis of the 64 page book, which is generously (and charmingly) illustrated with Eddy's engaging watercolors. Miller and Eddy are both retired educators, and it shows--in addition to its lessons about character and courage, Dillo is an excellent introduction to the island's flora and fauna: bobcats, and anhingas, strangler figs and spartina grass. The book's acknowledgments include several names that may be familiar to long-time residents and readers: Naturalist Bev Postmus advised Miller on the island's natural systems; best-selling writer Anne Fadiman, author of Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader, proofread the book. The whole experience was a joy, says Miller. I just hope it encourages children to make a difference for the future.
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