cover image Tree of Dreams: Ten Tales from the Garden of Night

Tree of Dreams: Ten Tales from the Garden of Night

Laurence Yep. Bridgewater Books, $13.95 (96pp) ISBN 978-0-8167-3498-6

""Dreaming is a bond that unites us-beyond language and custom, beyond geography and time itself,"" writes Yep (Dragon's Gate; Child of the Owl) in his preface to this intriguing collection. Culled from several cultures and many centuries, the 10 stories here draw on such folklore traditions as those of China, ancient Greece and Brazil. In each, a character ascends what Yep refers to as ""the tree of dreams"" and, while sleeping, has an adventure that teaches him or her a lesson. Wealthy emperors, humble servants, spirits, gods and animals play roles in these narratives. True to the chimerical nature of dreams, some of the plots are labyrinthine and may confuse literal-minded youngsters. But each conclusion sees justice explicitly served, with greed and arrogance punished while humility, hard work and honesty are rewarded. Introducing every story is a full-page, deep-hued illustration by Seltzer (The House I Live In), who ably and creatively invokes the aura and images of the various diverse cultures. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)