cover image Every Dreaming Creature

Every Dreaming Creature

Brendan Wenzel. Little, Brown, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-51253-4

In experiential text and form-forward mixed-media art, Caldecott Honoree Wenzel imagines a young dreamer inhabiting the body and consciousness of a succession of animals. “I had a dream I was a sleeping salamander,” the book opens. “All the world was safe, snug spaces and a warm, wet blanket of decaying leaves... until you came, with playful limbs, and woke me from that dream.” Sinuous pink arms offer clues about the next dream’s subject; a page turn later, the dreamer becomes an octopus, “bursts of wonder tingling down the minds of my arms.” Cavorting under the waves, the octopus transitions to a land giant, and a new dream begins. Across softly bordered full spreads and vignettes, each visual gives way to the next: the cephalopod’s arms move into elephant trunks; the elephants’ view of clouds becomes a speeding falcon in the sky; the diving falcon’s backdrop reveals a tiger’s stripes. As the series of dreams forms an endless loop, suggesting similarities across habitats and species, the beings’ expressive eyes communicate joy and curiosity. It’s one thing to watch creatures; in this empathetic picture book, Wenzel imagines what it’s like to be them. Ages 4–8. Author: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Sept.)