Review: Dolly Parton (Little People, Big Dreams)

Dolly Parton: Little People, Big Dreams
Author: Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
Illustrator: Daria Solak
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.

Dolly Parton

Country Music legend Dolly Parton gets the rock-star treatment in this humble, lovely biography.

Quick Rating: Buy & Keep


It is impossible to capture the depth of character and career that encompasses the life of Dolly Parton in a child’s board book. This book, however, does an excellent job of distilling the essence of Parton’s spirit and accomplishments into a satisfying peek for both kids and adults alike.

Parton, known for her humor, talent and compassion, is followed from her humble beginnings in the foothills of Tennessee, through her accomplishments in music, to her contributions to children’s literacy–all in a scant 32 pages. No small feat!

Dolly Parton was once asked in an ABC interview, “[i]s it true that you once said that it’s a good thing you were born a girl, otherwise you would have been a drag queen?” She replied, “[y]es, it is true. Because I’m so over-exaggerated and I have so many fans in the gay community, and the drag queens.” And yes, even her love of makeup is touched upon in the book.


Solak, who studied graphic design at the Art Academy in Warsaw and Bologna, captures both the complexity of Parton’s life and the simplicity of Parton’s warmth in the illustrations. Solak’s illustrations, appearing childlike at first, do an excellent job of enhancing the static prose (this is a biography, after all) and reinforce the book’s central messages. The illustrations, however, only appear childlike. Take a look at the one below; stop for a moment and focus on the simple points delineating the characters’ eyes. Where are they looking? All of the Children’s eyes are focused on the book–transfixed by the reading and the world of wonder. Where are Parton’s? Lost in the storytelling. These are not childlike renderings.

It’s On My Bookshelf

Sanchez Vegara has done an outstanding job of capturing a yet unfinished life and making it accessible for both young and old readers. I do have one quibble. I would not introduce this book before the first or second grade, although the reading recommendation begins at Preschool. I just do not think a preschooler would have the attention span or interest in it (unless they know Parton and/or like Country Music). Otherwise, this is a wonderful board book that doubles as a coffee table book. It is a definite buy and keep.

If you want to purchase a copy of Dolly Parton: Little People, Big Dreams, and support my endeavors at the same time, you can click on one of the links below. No extra cost to you, and it will help me out! More books to read, more reviews to do!

Dolly Parton: Little People, Big Dreams (Support an Independent Bookstore)
Coat of Many Colors (Support an Independent Bookstore)
Dolly Parton: Little People, Big Dreams (Hardcover at Amazon)*
Coat of Many Colors ( Hardcover at Amazon)*

More books for this Age Group can be found here.

My thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher for providing an Advance Copy of this book prior to its publication. The views expressed herein are my own.

Please, leave comments! I love a HEALTHY exchange of ideas. After all, critical thinking is essential to life.

As a BONUS, here’s Dolly reading her book, Coat of Many Colors:

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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