cover image Pierre's Dream

Pierre's Dream

Jennifer Armstrong, Susan Gaber. Dial Books, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1700-8

A tribute to the power of imagination, Armstrong's (Pockets) circus tale starts with a ""lazy, foolish man"" named Pierre who has ""no job, no interests and no hobby besides sitting under the olive trees in the afternoon, thinking of dinner"" and ends with his transformation into a ringmaster. Believing he is dreaming, Pierre helps to recapture a lion that has escaped from a nearby circus. Gaber's (Jordi's Star) magnetic full-spread illustration of the lion bewitched by Pierre's outstretched hand conveys the turning point for the protagonist. He proceeds to walk a tightrope and juggle flaming hoops: ""But as it was his dream, or so he thought, he had no fear."" Scenes of Pierre standing while riding a horse or suspended from a trapeze high above the circus ring will thrill circus lovers. He realizes his ""dream"" is real when he awakens to find the ringmaster's top hat and the tightrope artist's parasol beside him. Pierre's quiet epiphany comes through in the canny closing illustration: the upright hobo-like fellow stands on a shore with the parasol raised, while his reflection dances--sporting full ringmaster regalia, parasol twirling. Readers may find it hard to suspend disbelief that the ne'er-do-well truly believes he is sleeping through these raucous activities, but Gaber fills in any gaps in narrative logic with a soft impressionist touch that gracefully moves between the real and imagined. Ages 4-8. (May)