cover image Happy Dreamer

Happy Dreamer

Peter H. Reynolds. Orchard, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-545-86501-2

Reynolds (Playing from the Heart) returns to familiar inspirational territory as he celebrates individuality, self-expression, and the joys of being a dreamer. A shaggy-haired boy narrates, explaining that while the world often tells him to “sit still” and “be quiet,” “my dreams have a mind of their own.” He’s initially shown sitting at a gray desk in a gray classroom, but a swirl of color beckons, and soon he’s leaping across a spread, accompanied by music notes and bursts of cheerful color. Throughout, Reynolds’s hand-lettered text and airy cartoons dance across the pages, capturing the freewheeling workings of the child’s mind, and a gatefold showcases children showing off dozens of way to be happy (a “nature happy” girl on a hike, an “art happy” painter) or dreamers (such as a “stage dreamer” midperformance). While Reynolds’s encouragements can get generic at times (“Sometimes... I’m a colorful dreamer,/ painting my own path/ full of surprises at every turn!”), he offers a liberating validation of dreaming as restorative, comforting, and powerful, while giving kids full license to be themselves. Ages 4–8. Agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (Mar.)