cover image Go Ahead and Dream

Go Ahead and Dream

Karen Kingsbury and Alex Smith, illus. by Greg Banning. Harper, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-168625-2

Christian novelist Kingsbury teams up with NFL quarterback Smith for a flat-footed biographical story extolling the value of perseverance. Smith leaves practice with his San Francisco 49ers and boards a plane bound for his hometown to visit his family and lifelong best friend, Bobby. En route, Smith reminisces about his childhood dream of playing football and Bobby’s wish to become a pilot. When both boys had setbacks on the way to achievement, Alex’s Grandpa repeatedly bucked them up with a syrupy motivational song: “Go ahead and dream,/ However big it seems./ Work hard, believe,/ And don’t give up./ Yes, go ahead and dream.” The somewhat choppy text reads more like a series of anecdotes than a smooth narrative, and while Banning’s digital artwork has a polished, photo-realistic quality, it doesn’t always reflect the stated passage of time (in fifth grade, Bobby and Alex look exactly like they did in first grade, and are still wearing the same clothing). Other odd details (why does the school principal have a picture of Grandpa on his desk?) may also prove confusing to readers. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)