cover image When the World Is Dreaming

When the World Is Dreaming

Rita Gray, illus. by Kenard Pak. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-544-58262-0

In a series of poems and airy illustrations, Gray and Pak (who most recently collaborated on Flowers Are Calling) consider the dreams of woodland creatures, observed in their habitats by a straight-haired, dark-skinned girl. With the reassuring repetition of nursery rhymes, each poem takes the same form. The first two stanzas frame the question (“What does Little Snake dream at the end of the day?/ After the wriggling, the sunning, the play,” begins one); the third presents the creature’s reply (“Catching the wind, the kite sets sail,/ and trailing behind, I am the tail!”); and the fourth bids it goodnight. Other animals’ dreams are just as fanciful: two deer take shelter from the rain under a giant mushroom cap, a rabbit flies with a pair of cabbage-leaf wings. Pak’s gauzy spreads combine misty greens, pale grays, and tints that fade to white to suggest the first whispers of spring. In the end, the girl dreams a magical dream of her own. It’s one more way that animals resemble humans, Gray suggests, and that humans reveal their animal natures. Ages 4–7. [em]Author’s agent: Fiona Kenshole, Transatlantic Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Agency. (Sept.) [/em]