________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 11 . . . .February 4, 2005


Dream: A Tale of Wonder, Wisdom & Wishes.

Susan V. Bosak. Illustrated by 15 illustrators.
Whitchurch-Stouffville, ON: TCP Press, 2004.
32 pp., cloth, $23.95.
ISBN 1-896232-04-3.

Grades 3 and up / Ages 8 and up.

Review by Reesa Cohen.

**** /4


What can children and those that teach them expect from an author whose vision for this book took five years to bring to fruition? A book you can pin a dream on! This handsomely rendered book is the recipient of an iParenting Media Award. It is less a story and more a collection of thoughts about life's hopes and dreams written in elegant prose that has a poetic style. Bosak has fashioned an impressive and inspirational journey through the different stages of our lives and invites readers to "dream a dream with me."

     The book begins with a dream chest and the word "Dream" defined on the title page with a multitude of verbs and nouns that are later reflected in the text. Readers are then asked the important question, "What's your dream?"

     We are taken through the transition of life, from infancy on, with a timeless positive message of the importance of dreams leading to great achievements. Bosak also incorporates quotes from famous people of all kinds, including T.S. Elliot, Emily Dickinson, and Martin Luther King, whose thoughts relate to dreams, dreaming, and using one's imagination. Nurturing a dream needs the wisdom of "Believe, Do, Think!", Susan Bosak's core answer to reaching life's dreams. The author exhorts you to:

Be a dreamer
With everything around you
With everything before and after you
With everything that is you.

     But it is not only the deeply felt words alone that inspire because the book also achieves one of its major goals: "to encourage visual literacy." The art and text truly enrich each other and add depth and even drama to the words. The result is a powerful mix of thoughts, quotes and images. Reading this book is like a trip through an art gallery as it features 15 children's book illustrators from five different countries, many of them award winners, including Leo and Diane Dillon, Zhong-Yang Huang, Michelle Lemieux, Shaun Tan and Barbara Reid. The diversity of artistic styles reinforces the mood of the lyrical thoughts and emphasizes the power of art to inspire. The palette of these talented artists varies from richly coloured vibrant illustrations with great detail to subtle pale tones in soft pencil sketches. Bosak sees the world in "colours" indicative of each stage in life from the optimism of bright yellows and reds to soft blues and even dismal grays, reflecting uncertainty and disorder. But gray can easily change if readers are open to hope, and love, and that gray can be replaced by the colour of Go and Grow - green.

internal art     This emotional and thought-provoking book ends with a section for teachers, parents and older readers that contains fascinating notes exploring each illustration in detail, including information on each of the illustrators, their medium and quotes from the artists about their own inspiration and their choices to be an illustrator. The final page of the book offers information about the "Legacy Project," an international service program and its interactive web site: www.legacyproject.org. This dynamic web site contains activity sheets, guides, tips, essay contests, lesson ideas, reproducibles and recommended books.

     Dream is a book that can be appreciated both by children and adults. The simplicity of the message and the enormous appeal of the illustrations will make this accessible to all children. These readers can also be encouraged to find the hidden star in each illustration. Certainly parents and educators will appreciate the beauty of the book and will eagerly wish to discuss the significance of its words. In fact, Dream will find its home with all adults whose love for literature will prompt them to share it with young readers and who will want to purchase this lovely book for any milestone occasion. This will be a worthy rival to Dr. Suess' Oh the Places You Can Go as a favourite gift book.

Highly Recommended.

Reesa Cohen is an Instructor of Children's Literature and Information Literacy at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.