If I Had a Little Dream

Nina Laden, illus. by Melissa Castrillon. S&S/Wiseman, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4814-3924-4
Illustrator Castrillon debuts with a splash, imagining a world enclosed in a riot of lush, filigreed leaves and flowers, dyed with the warm colors of sunset and the blue of Chinese porcelain. Laden (Are We There Yet?) writes in the voice of a girl who dances, bicycles, and dreams her way through scenes that picture her wishes for a house, boat, dog, siblings, and more: “If I had a little garden,/ I would name it Whole./ Whole would be filled/ with roots and seeds,/ and feed my heart and soul.” At bedtime, the girl’s mother cradles her in her arms and tells her, “If I had a little dream,/ I would name it You./ You would make life magical,/ where wishes do come true.” Through Laden’s rhymes can be awkward in places, her poetry comes from the heart, and Castrillon’s artwork carries the words to a place where birds bring tea and cupcakes to the window, thistly flowers grow as high as trees, and houses are just the right size for a single child. She’s a talent to watch. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Laura Rennert, Andrea Brown Literary. Illustrator’s agency: Pickled Ink. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/21/2016
Release date: 02/07/2017
Genre: Children's
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