[review + giveaway] Dreaming of You by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater and Aaron DeWitt

Put on your onesie and grab your favorite stuffie. You’re just in time to cuddle up with a sweet and soothing new bedtime picture book!

In lyrical rhyming verse, Dreaming of You by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater and Aaron DeWitt (Boyds Mills Press, 2018) helps us imagine what some of our favorite animals might dream about at night.

Tonight may you dream sweet animal dreams.
Tonight may your dreams all run free.

Tonight may you dream of what animals dream.
When they sleep, what do animals see?

While kittens dream of lapping fresh milk, chipmunks dream of digging deep burrows, fishes of tasting new plants, horses of wild, windy rides, and bunnies of napping in thickets.

VanDerwater includes ten different animals in all, featured in well crafted ballad quatrains with abcb end rhymes and the same repetitive word pattern in the first three lines — a perfect lullaby, calming and incantatory as it lulls the reader to slumberland:

Turtles are dreaming of cool, muddy beds.
Turtles are dreaming of learning to run.
Turtles are dreaming of basking with you
on a rock in a river in hot summer sun.

Kids will love all the charming details and activities, while observing the animals in their natural habitats. Best part is discovering that all their animal friends are ultimately dreaming about them!

Amy’s use of second person engages the reader from the very beginning, establishing an intimate tone that feels safe and comforting. Who would not love playing hide-and-go-seek with chipmunks or knowing that “Horses are dreaming of you telling secrets/into long ears as you nuzzle their faces”? So wonderful it makes you want to hug yourself. ๐Ÿ™‚ Some of the verses are just sigh-worthy beautiful:

Robins are dreaming of fine, twiggy nests.
Robins are dreaming of waking up spring.
Robins are dreaming of swooping with you,
painting the sky with a song and a wing.

Aaron DeWitt’s mixed media illustrations take the reader full circle from starlit tucking-into-bed time through a happy sunrise the next morning. We first see a child’s footie pajama legs and a stuffed monkey being dragged to bed, where a pet dog and cat are blissfully snoozing. Through the window, we see a robin on her nest.

When we turn the page, we’re outside, looking into the lit window from the animals’ vantage point. Kittens are up first in an old dairy barn, followed by various animal dreams in cool, muddy beds, deep burrows, underwater, on wide open spaces, in squishy bogs, thickets, and summer meadows, before the story takes us back home, with puppies “dreaming of long, waggy walks” and “listening to stories, cuddled up close in a quilt on your bed.”

DeWitt skillfully captures the gentle playful spirit of the text, with no shortage of adorable animal antics to keep young ones enchanted and entertained. The level of detail is well suited to the target audience and the muted colors maintain a restful tone. I especially love the dozing bunny holding a carrot.

Bunnies are dreaming of napping in thickets.
Bunnies are dreaming of twitchety noses.
Bunnies are dreaming of you in a garden,
sharing sweet carrots and nibbles of roses.

Dreaming of You is simply lovely, a welcome and refreshing take on the classic goodnight book. With its lilting cadences and deft rhymes, it’s a pleasure to read aloud, a loving gift of words for a child to hear right before he/she drifts off to sleep. Sweet Dreams!


written by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
illustrated by Aaron DeWitt
published by Boyds Mills Press, March 2018
Picture Book for ages 3-6, 32 pp.
**Starred Review** from Kirkus

โ™ฅ๏ธ A Story Hour Kit and an Art Talk with Aaron DeWitt are available at Amy’s website.

โ™ฅ๏ธ Enjoy the official book trailer:




The publisher is generously donating a brand new copy of Dreaming of You for one lucky Alphabet Soup reader. For a chance to win, please leave a comment at this post no later than midnight (EDT) Wednesday, September 19, 2018. You may also enter by sending an email with DREAMING in the subject line to: readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com. Giveaway open to U.S. residents only, please. Good Luck!


And guess who’s hosting the Roundup this week? None other than the beautiful and talented Amy Ludwig VanDerwater herself! Be sure to zip on over to The Poem Farm to check out the full menu of poetic goodness being served up in the blogosphere. Have a lovely weekend!

*Interior spreads text copyright ยฉ 2018 Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, illustrations ยฉ 2018 Aaron DeWitt, published by Boyds Mills Press. All rights reserved.

**This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. When you purchase something using a link on this site, Jama’s Alphabet Soup receives a small referral fee. Thank you for your support!

Copyright ยฉ 2018 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

52 thoughts on “[review + giveaway] Dreaming of You by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater and Aaron DeWitt

  1. Oh, Jama! This was such a beautiful and adorable and kind surprise! Thank you to you and to Cornelius and his friends. They look so cozy with the book. I am very grateful to you, for all you do to feed our senses and spirits and for your endless kindness. Happy Poetry Friday, my friend. Sweet dreams. xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mr. C and company absolutely love the book and are happy to hear you approve of their appearing in this review. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you so much for writing it. There are many bedtime/lullaby type books out there, but this one is extra special. Your unique voice, love of animals and kind spirit really shine through.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is another favorite of Amy’s books, a perfect book for every child at bedtime. It’s a wonderful idea to imagine all the animals’ dreams. Your review is lovely, Jama. No need to put me into the drawing; I have the book.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such a lovely post, and thanks for the peeks at so many pictures. Thanks also to Mr. C. and the others for helping to show them off. PS – I will now be calling the author “Incantatory Amy” – ;0) – she has such a way with these lullaby-ing rhymes. (This “robyn” is happy to swoop with Amy anytime, and with you, Jama!)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is such a sweet book–I loved it! All of Amy’s books are wonderful! And that cover is just gorgeous!! Congrats, Amy & thanks for the lovely post, Jama ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A perfect combo of words and pictures. It is nice to see illustrations that don’t scream “computer generated,” as so many do these days.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I read this book and it’s just beautiful! The wording is so very well crafted and lovely, especially the way the child (“you”) is smoothly worked into the end of each stanza. Plus the illustrations are darling. Yay, Amy! And thank you, Jama!


  7. Ahhhh…these lovely verses and illustrations make me long for a little one to read them to. I wonder who will let me borrow their sleepy one at bedtime? I love your photographs of the pages with your stuffed critters enjoying the story. Delightful all the way around.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “Incantatory” is the perfect word for the very best kind of bedtime book. I can’t wait to see this one! Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

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