Hmmm – M the Humdinger

Hmmm: M the Humdinger  is an interactive and intergenerational story about love and friendship across difference. Hmmm is available in hardcover (11″ x 8″) and as an online Flipbook with narration and humming soundtrack.

Dorothy Lander illustrates her botanical musical story with collages crafted from pressings of flowers, leaves and evergreens, moss and mycelium, gathered from the gardens, meadows and verges of northeastern Nova Scotia, from Mi’kma’ki, the unceded ancestral lands of the Mi’kmaq. You will meet M

whose special gift of humming calls her readers to cherish and protect Nature. She invites us to hum along with her and follow her humlines into the in-between places and everyday tensions of human nature and human healthcare.  Watch for the Hmmm signs to hum along with M.

With every  Hmmm M transports us through sound and image into Nature’s labyrinths and invisible portals.  Alongside the pansies that represent M’s family and playmates, you will bow to M’s siren call and dance with her humming companions— bees, dragonflies, hummingbirds—into the secret spirals of the honeysuckle and the morning glory.  Suspended in this healing limn, prepare to float in the beauty of multi-varied Nature.  In these precarious times, M models for us how we can turn to the more-than-human world to sustain our connections to Mother Earth and empower our empathy for each other.

Listen to Page 1 of Hmmm – M the Humdinger

What are Readers Saying about Hmmm?

The book is about why M keeps humming, because she belongs to nature, then M becomes harmony and humming to the world.

Ethan, age 7, Antigonish, Nova Scotia


I was delighted to hear so many aspects of humming, one of the most neglected and at the same time, one of the crucially important for all human being’s vocal activities, woven into the story so ably! 

Introducing this story to our small listeners can have profound importance to them, as humming comes from unimaginable depths of our evolutionary prehistory, originating millions of years earlier than our speech. Deeper evolutionary roots naturally mean a more effective connection to human emotional life. Humming can do magics in creating emotions, transferring emotions to others, connecting us to nature. And all this natural wisdom is presented wrapped in a delightfully engaging story.

  • Joseph Jordania, ethnomusicologist and evolutionary musicologist, author of the book New Model of Human Evolution: How Predators Shaped Human Morphology and Behaviour (2017).  Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne, Australia


I have never come across anything quite like this before. It is illustrated with the most wonderful plant collages, I especially love the ones at the back of the book where the plants and insects are named. However, the best thing of all is the therapeutic benefit of humming along, it was both enjoyable and relaxing. This would be a great book to read alongside a younger reader, you would certainly have plenty of fun along the way.

  • Rachel Corby, Plant Whisperer, Personal Rewilding Coach, author of Rewilding & The Art Of Plant Whispering


This delightful book is fun for all ages – my 4- year-old granddaughter watched and listened all the way through and then went dancing and humming around the house. As this book is being published, we are in tough times. This little story reminds us that we are all special and inspires us with both the beauty of nature in the artwork and the beauty of the human voice. As we preserve art, music, and especially beauty, humans will become a less destructive species.

  • Marilyn Manzer, music educator, Wolfville, NS.


Hmmm is a virtual bedtime story and a delightful sensual experience. You listen as a comforting voice narrates the story of M, the girl with a gift. You are charmed by M’s harmonious humming and your eyes are engaged with a sprinkle of botanical illustrations. 

  • Rachel McAlpine, writer, poet, drawer, blogger, and podcast host, author of romance novel Humming.  Wellington, New Zealand


I liked the Wise Woman and how she used the Honeysuckle bush to connect M with the hummingbirds and bees. Also, the moss-covered stone in the forest seemed like the one at Tower Farm. 

  • Tannen, age 8, Oakville, Ontario


The Humdinger captures the music’s transformative ability to release pent up emotions and illustrates the connections of humming to wellness all-around from the cell, sub-cellular to molecular levels of our biological existence. 

  • Dr. David O. Akombo, Professor and Dean, College of Culture, Creative and Performing Arts, University of the West Indies-Cave Hill, Barbados. Author of The Unity of Music and Dance in World Cultures.   


I think this is a book about flowers, beautifully pressed flowers in rich vibrant colours and wonderful textures.  The time of year made me both fixate on and luxuriate in them.  I wanted to touch the pansies, in particular, to feel their silky softness and to see how the drying process had affected them. Pansies are the true jewels of the flower world, coming out as they do in late winter and early spring.  The leaves, the bees, the blooms, the vines, they were magnificent for a late March day.

The flowers are exquisite and the true medicine of this book, definitely alternative and definitely useful, though I know you have a healing story here about a gifted girl. The flowers lifted my soul.  The humming was great too.  

  • Anonymous [friend of Dorothy’s], Antigonish, Nova Scotia


I’m a nurse and I kept thinking about M’s mom and dad and their trips to all of the specialists… and how we (in healthcare) always start a file. Although they are trying to protect her, I kept hoping they would celebrate her more… instead of trying to see what was wrong and in need of fixing … to name and champion her special and magnificent gift. I did love the Wise Woman.  She held the space and saw the gift! Each of us needs a Wise Woman.

This is a book I would have loved to read (and hum) to my children and my grandchildren.

  • Barb Heatley O’Neil, BScN, M.Ad.Ed., CPCC
    President: O’Neil Co-Active Coaching Group, Nurse Leader and Wise Woman, Sarnia, Ontario


A truly heart-warming, educational tale of M’s quest to find out what was different about her — but she actually discovers that her humming is a very special gift.  The illustrations are amazing and so harmonious with nature!

  • Brenda Manley,  (Dorothy’s childhood friend) Retired Teacher SS # 16,  Grandmother, Children’s Choir Director, Port Hope, Ontario


Hmmm is a book of sounds, not only words and beautiful pictures.  It is not only multimedia, but “multigenerational” – a story that will appeal to adults and youngsters alike. …  What is more, Hmmm is an innovative and original contribution to the fields of arts-in-healthcare and music therapy. M’s experiences make clear that most people today live in “vocal deserts.” Humming, like music and immersion in nature, are good for us. They heal.

  • Ellen Dissanayake is the author of What Is Art For?, published by the University of Washington Press, Seattle.


As I was listening to p. 8 on the computer in my bedroom, Kiisa came in and jumped up on the desk beside me (as she often does). She heard a hmmmmmm and immediately became alert and looked at the screen with interest, then outside the window behind it.  As other Mmmmms sounded, she got up and looked behind the computer.  Throughout the story, whenever there were longish stretches of, to her, boring people-language, she lay down and went back to her usual thoughts. But when the various Mmmmms began again, she always showed interest and looked at the screen.

  • Kiisa Dissanayake, Seattle, Washington, USA