[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!

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melissa iwai and denis markell dish on hush, little monster

Melissa, Jamie, and Denis

Don’t you just love it when one good thing leads to another?

I’ve been a big Melissa Iwai fan for awhile now. How could I not love someone who illustrates a book about a quest for pancakes and then follows up with a self-illustrated title about soup? In addition to her writing, drawing and painting chops, this girl can cook! Just check out The Hungry Artist, where Melissa regularly creates tasty, healthy magic in the kitchen (please adopt me). 🙂

If you’ve seen Melissa’s delightful Soup Day (Henry Holt, 2010), you know it was inspired by the time she spent cooking with her son Jamie. Apparently, we can also thank Jamie for her latest book, Hush, Little Monster (Little, Simon, 2012), which was written by her husband Denis Markell. Because Jamie had trouble sleeping when he was a wee babe, Denis, an award-winning Broadway musical and comedy writer, sang “Hush, Little Baby” to him over and over every. single. night.

Possibly going insane getting really tired of mockingbirds, diamond rings and looking glasses, one night Denis thought about doing a monsterish riff on this traditional lullaby.

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friday feast: over the moon!

Cover illustration by Jules Feiffer

Most everyone reading this has in some way been affected by breast cancer. Either you know someone currently battling the disease, have relatives or friends who are survivors, are a survivor yourself, or have sadly lost someone.

I know at least nine survivors and one person who lost her battle, and of course, we all recently learned that Judy Blume was recently diagnosed.

Over the Moon: The Broadway Lullaby Project is a beautiful collection of lullabies written by eminent Broadway composers and lyricists and performed by Broadway singers to benefit breast cancer research. It’s available as a 26-track two CD set, an eBook, and a hardcover picture book with a 17-song CD illustrated by Broadway set designers and some of our most beloved children’s book artists, including Wendell Minor, Jon J Muth, Sean Qualls, Peter H. Reynolds, Marc Simont, Melissa Sweet, Paul O. Zelinsky, Barry Moser and Richard Egielski.

“Onesie” illustration copyright © 2012 Paul O. Zelinsky

The project was conceived and created by Kate Dawson and Jodi Glucksman, two veterans from the New York theatrical community whose own lives were touched by breast cancer: Kate lost a cousin who was just 45 years old with two small children, and Jodi lost her beloved grandmother.

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