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Stefan Czernecki and Timothy Rhodes

Winnipeg, Hyperion Press, 1989. 80pp. cloth, $19.95
ISBN 0-92-534-49-X. CIP

Grades 4 and up/Ages 9 and up
Reviewed by Hazel Birt.

Volume 17 Number 4
1989 July

Stefan Czernecki and Timothy Rhodes share an interest in ethnic cultures and the preservation of wildlife. While travelling in Mexico, the two saw the endangered jaguar for the first time.

The Time Before Dreams is set in Central America in ancient times, before people had dreams. A giant moth floats over the village one night bringing dreams to the animals. The villagers approach their Shaman to do something about acquiring dreams for them as well. How he goes about it is a spell-binding tale, with Czernecki's evocative images appearing full page throughout the book. The Shaman creates the jaguar by combining all the best features of various animals in the forest.

The line drawings on buff paper have a fascinating way of repeating themselves, each picture being only slightly altered from the other as the story unfolds. One could perhaps wish that the illustrator had used colour; the book as a whole has a cool, sophisticated appearance with its monochromatic, highly stylized illustra­tions.

Useful in shared reading experiences to explore dreams, myths and predicting which animals would be chosen to create a new one. Perhaps students could create their own animals, combining all the best qualities of animals familiar to them.

Hazel Birt, Winnipeg, Man.
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