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. 🙂 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!
DREAMING OF YOU
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
♥️ Enjoy the official book trailer:
📒 SPECIAL BOOK GIVEAWAY! 🐰
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 © 2018 Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, illustrations © 2018 Aaron DeWitt, published by Boyds Mills Press. All rights reserved.
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Copyright © 2018 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.