If I Had a Little Dream

illus. by Melissa Castrillon. 32p. S. & S./Paula Wiseman Bks. Feb. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481439244.
PreS-K—In a rhyming, lyrical bedtime book, a pigtailed child with rosy cheeks dreams up imaginary people, places, and things. Each is the subject of a quatrain that is phrased in a soothing and pleasant rhythm, adding to the precious and endearing quality of the text. The verses follow the same pattern: "If I had a little book,/I would name it Friend./Friend would go wherever I went,/our story would never end." While Laden does not describe the objects themselves as otherworldly, Castrillon creates a dreamlike tone with her pencil illustrations, which swirl with detail in deep blues, burnt oranges, browns, and reds. The objects and backgrounds are slightly surreal, some with a Seussian feel. The child is surrounded by intricate trees, peculiar plants, and curious forest creatures. Dream threads appear as winding blue vines from the child's head. The pages are pleasantly constructed, with a balance of smaller symmetrical vignettes and half and full spreads. The final page shows the child in the arms of a loving adult caregiver and offers the message, "If I had a little dream,/I would name it You./You would make life magical,/where wishes do come true."
VERDICT A sweet bedtime selection where the illustrations are the star. Purchase for medium and large collections.

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