Sea of Dreams

Dennis Nolan, Illustrator
Dennis Nolan. Roaring Brook/Porter, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-59643-470-7
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Reminiscent of David Wiesner’s Flotsam and Irene Haas’s The Maggie B, Nolan’s enchanting artwork creates a gorgeous, wordless nautical fantasy infused with the thrill of life-or-death adventure. On a cloudless day at the beach, a girl builds a sand castle that, as the sun sets, is overtaken by the tide; readers soon see a puzzling glow of light in one of the castle’s windows, where a family appears to be stranded. Nolan (The Skywriter) portrays the Lilliputian family’s fraught journey in a series of luminous double-page scenes, as they navigate roiling, sea-green waves in a crude boat, with a seagull as their guide. When a boy is washed overboard, he is in danger of being eaten by a magnificent orange fish until he is rescued by childlike mermaids, who are joined by equally delicate seahorses. The family finds refuge on a rocky island where Nolan offers paintings of shells and starfish as beautiful as they are accurate. The girl returns to the beach the next day, builds another castle, and the cycle begins anew. Readers will never look at the beach the same way. Ages 3–7. (Oct.)
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