cover image Arthur’s Dream Boat

Arthur’s Dream Boat

Polly Dunbar. Candlewick, $15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7636-5867-0

Adding to the sizable bookshelf of titles that bear witness to the power of a child’s imagination, Dunbar (the Tilly and Friends series) introduces Arthur, a boy first seen yawning and stretching after waking up from an “amazing” dream. His dream was about a boat, and Dunbar pictures it perched on Arthur’s head—dainty and white, at first, but growing in size, color, and detail in every spread. Arthur tries to share his dream with his family, but everyone is busy; meanwhile, he takes inspiration from his mother’s polka-dot dress and his baby sister’s yellow pajamas to add new elements to the boat. As nautical details appear with increasing frequency in the family’s home (his sister’s high chair looks suspiciously like a ship’s crow’s nest), Arthur gets fed up and lets loose his imagination, summoning the ocean itself and finally getting his family’s attention. With a pink and green hull, red polka-dot flag, and garish blue-haired figurehead, Arthur’s boat pops, disrupting the sherbet palette of Dunbar’s loose, free-spirited illustrations the same way Arthur’s fantasies cut through the busyness and noise of modern life. Ages 2–up. (Feb.)