Nasla’s Dream

Cécile Roumiguière, illus. by Simone Rea. Princeton Architectural, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-61689-950-9
This short, penetrating story by Roumiguière, originally published in France, looks at Nasla’s first bedtime after she has her father move her stuffed animals to the top of the wardrobe—she’s too old to sleep with them, she says. Nasla knows that her toy turtle, “Timboubou the elephant... the mushroom castle, the hippo with the broken foot,” and the others are all atop the wardrobe “in a nice neat pile.” But in the dark, she sees something else up there: a glowing dot, “a little eye, like an opening in the dark night.” She yearns to investigate, “But at night, you do not play. At night, you sleep.” Rea renders Nasla’s perceptions with polished, editorial-style imagery: Timboubou’s trunk moves, a tree grows through the floor, Nasla floats on a cloud as if it were a raft. As the yellow glow seems to threaten, Nasla imagines ghosts, monsters—then remembers a treasure that will help her fall asleep. Roumiguière establishes Nasla persuasively as both a child with limited agency and an independent thinker who can solve her own problems, while Rea paints the girl’s thoughts and perceptions with remarkable artwork that highlights imagination and dreamlike imagery. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 07/09/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Children's
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