July 12, 2016

Sweet Dreams Are Made of These

Dreams are fascinating: they can be reflections of the days we've just had or manifestations of our hopes and fears. People have dedicated their lives to interpreting them, but ultimately their meanings are personal and unique to the dreamer. The ideas explored in dreams are rarely tethered to reality, so the opportunity to think outside the box and use different media--like picture books--is vast. Today's examples include picture books with strong and beautiful visuals that convey a deeper story behind the dream. Let's begin!

Britta Teckentrup's Before I Wake Up...(Prestel, 2016) is the story of a girl who travels through a dreamworld with her stuffed lion.




The animation of a toy or object of significance occurs frequently in dreamworld stories: it helps the character--and the reader--feel safe. In Before I Wake Up... we see the little girl's lion doll before she falls asleep, and then we watch as it comes to life and lurks in the shadows of the pages.


The doll becomes more and more animated as the illustrations progress: in the first few, we see the lion looking exactly the same, but eventually he begins to loosen up, and we get to see his handsome little mane blowing in the wind on a boat.


The lion acts as a security blanket, accompanying the little girl on her journey into the dreamworld, first as an observer, then as an active participant, always keeping her safe.

Mr. Moon Wakes Up (Child's Play, 2016) by Jemima Sharpe is another very recent example of dream exploration, but rather than the imaginative friend being an equal, Mr. Moon acts as a guide.


The child and Mr. Moon, as the imaginary friend is called, travel to a dreamworld through the wallpaper in the house stairwell. They travel to a whole slew of imaginary, whimsical places, with Mr. Moon leading the journey and guiding the course of the dream.


The limited color palette enhances the dreamy feel of the images, and gives the book a quiet, sleepy feel.


Like Before I Wake Up... the story jumps from one scene to the next, much like an actual dream. There's no consistent narrative throughout, but rather snapshots of the moments we can remember when we wake up.

La Semilla Piloto (Thule Ediciones, 2007) by Sergio Mora is exactly the same, with nonsensical scenes that are spliced together to create a general story. I actually a book I've only seen in Spanish, but the illustrations are gorgeous, so I just have to share it here.


The text is about a pilot seed who accidentally runs into a dreamworld where everyone is trying to eat him. The only way for him to escape is by being courageous and fulfilling his destiny. The illustrations look like acrylic, so the colors are dense and bright.


Like the other two books, the illustrations are quirky and lend themselves well to bedtime, acting almost as samples of suggested dreams.


Such a beautiful, curious book.

That's it for this post, but I know there are a ton of picture books out there that deal with dreams. What are your favorites??

Sweet dreams and see you in a week!