cover image Dreamland


Roni Schotter. Orchard Books (NY), $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-531-09508-9

Theo and his Uncle Gurney are very much alike: they have dreams and they have imagination. While measuring, cutting and sewing at the family tailoring business, Gurney is making plans to move out west. And as he helps with the work, Theo dreams up machines, outlandishcontraptions that spin and whirl within the pages of his sketchbook. In eloquent, image-studded prose (""lilies so large they looked like trumpets with something to say""), Schotter tells a story of dreams coming true, of turning the imaginary into reality, and she manages to make her tale both fantastic and credible. Gurney, with much secrecy, turns Theo's designs into a fairgrounds; the commonsensical members of the family react with delight, thrilled with the opportunity to sew costumes and curtains. Hawkes (The Librarian Who Measured the Earth), working for the first time in oils, contributes rich illustrations that burn with nostalgia, evoking simpler times without sentimentality. The palette moves from burnished darkness to hazy light as family fortunes change, while whimsically chosen perspectives erode the distinctions between the wondrous and the real. Ages 5-8. (Mar.)