"review" · Children's · concenter · Picture book · recommend · Tales · wondermous

when you haven’t Peter Pan…

30 DAYS OF PB 2013 aDay Thirty: Dream Animals: A Bedtime Journey

by Emily Winfield Martin

Random House, 2013.

dream animals cover

Furred, finned, or feathered, your dream animal is waiting.

Snuggle up. Open this book.

And get ready to go to your dreams. (jacket copy)

I own two of Emily Winfield Martin’s art prints (so far) from her TheBlackApple shop on Etsy, so I was really excited to hear she had a picture book in the works. Of course, not all artists a picture book author/illustrator make. So maybe I was a little worried, too. This is where I reassure you that Dream Animals really is quite wonderful. You should expect great things.

As the jacket copy recommends, this is a book to snuggle up with for the bedtime precursor to dreaming whilst asleep: dream whilst having story time. The opening end-pages show children with their inspirational animal preparing for bed with a bath and tooth brushing and yawning. These children at the closing end-pages are tucked in their beds (or comfy chair) asleep. In the pages between, the children are those carried to their dreams by their animal transport/guide.

dream animals page too

Martin employs these deep and warm concoctions in blues and greens, reds and golds, that I absolutely love in her work. The night skies and dreamscapes are full of color, detail and texture. They breathe. The pages rendering “real life” are inked lines and washes in indigo on a soft blue tinged expanse. There are little hints (besides their stuffy, nightlight or mobile) in the children’s room that follow them into the dreamlandscape. Notice how many of them are lovers of books. From the very opening (end-pages) Martin is building the characters of these little boys and girls. Of course, they are merely illustrative of the kinds of adventures children have when their dream animals take them to dreamland.

dream animals page

The story is shared in gentle rhyme. I like the last child’s piece in particular: “Or will you sail on moth wings/ To the edges of the blue… / To find the very moon and stars/ Are waiting just for you?” Hers is an artist dream. Others are feasts (see above), a woodland faerie gathering, a tea party under the sea, flight on a bicycle with wings. Everything about the story and its illustrations are wonderfully imagined. The ideas and images are lovely to linger over, and lingering is invited. Dream Animals is unhurried. It is a lullaby and perfectly suited for that snuggle time together before tucking yourself off to await your own dream animal.

There is another part of the crafting of this book I want to remark on: a turn of that end-page at the opening reveals not just one of my favorite colors, but a “This Book Belongs to” imprint–you can’t miss it. It is a beautiful touch. The book asks to be personal (owned) and a part of child’s dream-life as well. I imagine that it would be delightful to snuggle in, begin turning the pages in which you know your name will be read, the time and its sentiments dedicated in part to you.


{images belong to Emily Winfield Martin}

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #357: Featuring Emily Winfield Martin

Carrie McBride chats w/ Emily Winfield Martin about the picture book, etc.

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