Darla Dilly lives on the best street, in the best city, in the best country in the world. With her madcap family, her life is pretty wonderful. Especially when her mom and dad say she can get a pet!But Darla doesn't want just any pet. She wants a perfect, special, magical pet, one that's just for her. She dreams of having a mermaid, a dragon, a unicorn until one day the perfect pet finds her...
“To sum it all up,” says Darla Dilly, the main character in a new children’s book by Chomedey native Dimitra Merkouris, “the only thing you really need to know about the kind of girl I am, is that I am nowhere near ready to give up. Not even close.”
At first glance, the author of Darla Dilly Don’t Be Silly (Austin Macauley Publishers) doesn’t seem that silly. But talk to her at and it’s hard to ignore the cheerful buoyancy and child-like enthusiasm effervescing in her speech and manner.
Merkouris’ story takes readers through the daily life of Darla and her family who live “on the best street, in the best city, in the best country in the world.” It’s a pretty wonderful life we learn, and now she’s allowed to have a pet. Of course, the silly kid doesn’t want just any pet: No, she wants a perfect, special, magical pet, maybe a mermaid, dragon or unicorn…
Darla Dilly Don’t Be Silly (Austin Macauley Publishers) is a humorous story aimed at readers ages 6 to 9, about a little girl’s seemingly typical wish of adopting a pet of her very own.
The author channelled her own love of words, storytelling, silliness and children to tell a story that is typical of the lore of many families, where silliness can always reign. She also did a little more, while she was at it, proudly pledging 50 percent of all proceeds to the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation.
How much is that? Well, she can’t say yet, because she won’t have solid royalty numbers until January. If her appearance at the west island Chapters for an event last May, which surpassed most in recent memory in terms of on-site sales is any indication, Darla’s antics will be of great help to kids in need of more than a pet.
The mother of three wrote Darla Dilly on a whim and as a nod to her own children which are her greatest source of inspiration. “So much of the book is based on the craziness that goes on in our house!” she laughs. “I think that’s true of any household.”
Merkouris penned the book four years ago, the main character somewhat modeled on her own middle child – which she is too: “The middle child will especially identify with it” she says, recalling that “my dream as a little girl was to have a puppy and a pool and that would make life perfect.” She got the puppy, the pool had to wait for adulthood.
She has another work in development – I Love You Keepuz – a combined art/storytelling activity for younger children, that she already presented to some 100 Chomedey kids at Centre du Sablon Preschool and Souvenir Elementary, while she considers her next step after Darla.
In the meantime, Merkouris lives on the best street, in the best city, in the best country in the world with her husband, three children, and yes, their small brown dog.
Darla Dilly is just a regular girl. As the middle child, she has to share everything. Why can’t some things be just for her? Any time she comes up with something, she always gets the same old response: “Darla Dilly, don’t be silly.”
This time, Darla wants a pet of her own, but where in the world would she keep a mermaid? In the tub? Well, how about a dragon? But how would she feed it?
Of course, Darla was getting nowhere with her parents, so she goes the Big Guy instead: Santa.
Then, finally, Darla gets the perfect pet: a caterpillar that can turn into a butterfly. At this point, the story becomes informative on the various stages of a caterpillar’s growth.
The story was simple, taking you into the mind of an imaginative child that believes anything is possible. And the illustrations were colorful, fun, and pleasant to look at.
A nice, little read!
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