cover image Appelemando's Dreams

Appelemando's Dreams

Patricia Polacco. Philomel Books, $17.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-21800-2

A group of children stuck in the drabbest of villages share a secret: when their friend Appelemando dreams, they can actually see brightly colored, amazing objects float out of the top of his head. Soon they discover that the images stick to anything moist, and disaster strikes one rainy day when--in a place that frowns on nonconformity--the boy's kaleidoscopic dreams ``hold fast to the walls and storefronts of the town.'' To escape the villagers' ire Appelemando and his friends run off into the woods and are lost, but in the end, his dreams save the day. The book's message is somewhat similar to that of Leo Lionni's Frederick --the valuable role of dreamers--but Polacco's ( Thunder Cake ; Rechenka's Eggs ) prose lacks Lionni's subtlety (``Never again would they question the importance of dreams''). As an artist, however, she's as on target as always. The contrast between the dingy village and villagers, rendered in subdued tones of gray, brown and black, and the vivid hues of Appelemando's phantasms makes for an arresting visual juxtaposition and provides Polacco's fertile imagination with plenty of room. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)