DREAM: A Tale of Wonder, Wisdom and Wishes

Susan V. Bosak, Author, Robert Ingpen, Illustrator, James Bennett, Illustrator , illus. by Leo and Diane Dillon; Shaun Tan and others. TCP $17.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-896232-04-1

Bosak's (Something to Remember Me By ) inspirational gift book urges children to go ahead and dream, and tells them how. The narrator says that dreams are living things—"Dreams grow like seeds./ They need to take root,/ then stretch toward the sun./ They grow slowly./ They must be tended to"—and details the strength that each stage of human life brings to bear on the process. "To grow a dream/ .../ You need/ the Believe of childhood,/ the Do of youth,/ and the Think of experience." Although the narrator ably describes a journey of spiritual unfolding, he or she remains unseen, so readers lack a character to guide them through this interior journey. An assortment of artists, each of whom provide one-and-a-half page illustrations, and their varied styles lead to a fragmented visual experience, further distancing youngsters from the book. Because the artwork of Raúl Colón and of Leo and Diane Dillon appears as pairs of illustrations on consecutive spreads, their images work most effectively; they convey a progression that parallels the text. Other standout images include Barbara Reid's plasticine bas-relief of a girl looking through her legs ("When my legs began to take me places,/ my favorite colors were bright "), and Michèle Lemieux's drawing in blue ink depicting human figures perched along the kinks and snarls of an enormous ropelike structure, aptly representing the teen years. But too often the stand-alone illustrations make for a disjointed reading experience, contributing to a sense of the book as a beautifully produced (extended) greeting card. Ages 5-9. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 11/15/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Genre: Children's
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