Sweet Dreamers

illus. by Isabelle Simler. 80p. Eerdmans. Mar. 2019. Tr $19. ISBN 9780802855176.
RedReviewStarK-Gr 3—Lyrical language and stunning, semi-realistic digital artwork strike a serene balance between dreamland and the natural world. Atmospheric spreads and imagery-packed verses depict a variety of sleeping animals in their habitats. "The humpback whale/dreams vertically… Balancing on her head/or the tip of her tail,/this ballerina nosedives/into sleep." Some of the entries lean more toward the whimsical: "Slung like a hammock,/the sloth dreams/of spring-loaded sprinters,/of rockets blasting off,/of pump-action spinning tops./When the stopwatch starts,/our dreaming racer/doesn't move/an inch." Contrasting dusky hues with bright oranges and greens, Simler's handsomely composed images expertly use lines to create texture and depth. Most animals are depicted with both a full-body image and a zoomed-in shot. Wordless double-page renderings of various biomes are interspersed throughout, providing opportunity to discuss species' habitats. A glowing full moon adorns many of the spreads, adding continuity and building toward the final scene, where a child dreams of interacting with these animals "beneath the moon."
VERDICT Share this exquisite offering as an introduction to the sleep habits of different animals, an imagination-stirring example for poetry writing, or a soothing bedtime story to inspire sweet dreams.

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