cover image The Dream Pillow

The Dream Pillow

Mitra Modarressi. Orchard Books (NY), $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-531-06855-7

In a distinctive style marked by understated hues and delicate but powerful drawings, Modarressi ( Tumble Tower ) tells of a pillow that induces bad dreams. The mildly sinister object and the matter-of-factness with which the characters accept its powers recall classic fairy-tale formulas, the chief difference being this story's contemporary setting. Celeste thinks Ivy is ``very stuck-up,'' but when she attends Celeste's birthday party, Ivy politely offers Celeste a lavender velvet pillow. Celeste's antagonism intensifies when she suffers nightmares three nights in a row, so she remakes the pillow to look like a stuffed animal and presents it at Ivy's own birthday party (``Celeste wanted to bring a present as scary as the one Ivy had brought her''). Wracked by guilt, Celeste later tells Ivy what she's done, and a logical solution transforms the pillow's negative energy so that pleasant dreams for both girls--now friends--result. Despite the nightmares in the plot, the illustrations are not at all frightening; gentleness and a sense of quiet flow throughout the book. Dusky hues of blue, green and pink dominate, and the effect is of an overcast day, albeit a magical one. Mildly dramatic but also calming, this bedtime book enhances Modarressi's reputation as an artist with a unique vision. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)