cover image Ship of Dreams

Ship of Dreams

Dean Morrissey. ABRAMS, $17.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-8109-3848-9

The joy of Morrissey's first picture book is all in the eye, and his nostalgic oil paintings are almost sufficiently magical to alchemize the leaden ``dream journey'' story that accompanies them. From the Gerber-baby appeal of young Joey to the careful dreamscape choreography of motifs from nursery-rhyme cosmography and yesteryear's toys, not a visual detail goes awry in conjuring up a Norman Rockwell-esque innocence. The plot, however, is treacly. As Joey waits in bed for the Sandman, he pictures his Redd Rocket wagon; before he knows it, the Redd Rocket takes off, and soon Joey is caught in the Sandman's nets and hauled aboard the Sandman's delectable balloon ship. The narration runs toward the garrulous, and the tone frequently condescends (``Does that look straight?'' the Sandman asks as he hangs a star). The picture-book equivalent of a pinch on the cheek from an unfavorite relative. BOMC dividend; Children's BOMC alternate. All ages. (Oct.)