________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 21 . . . .June 24, 2005


Dream Helmet: Poems by William New.

William New. Illustrated by Vivian Bevis.
Vancouver, BC: Ronsdale Press, 2005.
32 pp., cloth, $14.95.
ISBN 1-55380-021-4.

Subject Heading:
Children's poetry, Canadian (English).

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8.

Review by Stacie Edgar.

*** /4



Dream Helmet

If you lie down to sleep
with a dream helmet on
you can slip out to sea
on a night galleon-

With a dream helmet on
you are king of the sea,
the now-covered mountains,
the air-or all three-.

Once again, William New and Vivian Bevis have teamed up to create a fun and whimsical collection of entertaining poetry. This book begins with the focal rhyme where a young child dons a dream helmet that takes him on great nighttime adventures. The bright purple and green space-aged helmet with planets and stars, flowers and a bird protruding from the top, allows the wearer to float and fly through the imaginary air. The reader follows the child and this dream helmet from riding a seal to watching his baby brother eat to riding escaped horses from a "circulating roundabout."

     Although the poems, themselves, do not directly relate to the dream helmet, Bevis's vibrant, yet dreamy, watercolour illustrations contain the featured helmet in some way. This collection of nonsense poetry is almost like being in a dream state where images and events of the day come together as the young child dreams. Independent of each other, the 15 poems seem, from the outside, like a haphazard grouping of nonsense poems. However, the collaboration of Bevis's talented brush with New's entertaining words makes the pages come alive to portray the meaningful consolidation of thoughts from a child's day. With the dream helmet on, children can go anywhere and do anything from the safety of their own bed.

     Also included are specifically Canadian poems, such as:

Tuque Talk
tic tac toque
Wintertime in Sooke

Tech talk turtleneck
En hiver au vieux Quebec

Tick tock tackle tactic
Wintertime in Tuktoyaktuk

     This is New and Bevis's third poetry collection that follows Vanilla Gorilla (1998) and Llamas in the Laundry (2002). Editor, author, and critic, William New is the University Killam Professor Emeritus of English and Canadian Literature at the University of British Columbia, where he continues to be a prominent figure on Canada's literary landscape. Vivian Bevis, also in Vancouver, was chosen to tour Ontario during Canadian Children's Book Week by the Canadian Children's Book Centre.


Stacie Edgar is a student in the Integrated B.A./B.Ed. Education program at the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba, MB.

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

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