________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 19 . . . . January 23, 2015

cover

Dream On. (Whatever After #4).

Sarah Mlynowski.
New York, NY: Scholastic (Distributed in Canada by Scholastic Canada), 2014.
157 pp., pbk. & EBK, $6.99 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-0-545-41572-9 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-545-63365-9 (EBK).

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Ruth McMahon.

**˝ /4

excerpt:

It’s too hard to hold on! I let go of her wrist, and the rest of Robin gets slurped up by the mirror.

Getting my best friend swallowed into a fairy tale was so NOT part of my sleepover plan.

“Come on,” I urge Jonah. “We have to go, too. We can’t leave her alone in there. She’s not even awake!”

Not that we have a choice. The mirror is already tugging us by our socks.

Speaking of socks, Jonah’s have holes in them. I can see both his big toes. Why hasn’t he thrown those out?

“Awesome! Let’s go!” my brother calls out. His eyes are lit up with excitement. Unlike me, Jonah is always up for an adventure. But normally I’m excited about going into the mirror, too. I want to see more of the stories come to life. I want to find out the truth about Maryrose. Just not TONIGHT. It’s sleepover night! Robin will never be allowed to come over again if she’s poisoned by a witch or turned into a mouse while she’s visiting my house.

“Where do you think we’re gonna go?” Johan asks. “Jack and the Beanstalk?”

“Why do you always think we’re going to Jack and the Beanstalk?”

“Don’t you want to meet a giant?” he asks, and lets of the banister.

Before I can tell him that no I do not, the mirror gives us a massive tug and we both get sucked inside.

 

 

And so Abby (as told in her first person narration), her brother Jonah and Abby’s sleepwalking friend Robin are sucked through the mirror into the land of fairytales landing in the story of Sleeping Beauty. Unfortunately, Robin pricks her finger on the spindle before Brianna (the princess) has a chance to do so, making it impossible for Bri to fall asleep and for the fairy tale to unfold as recorded by Perrault (18th century) or Grimm (19th century).

     This situation requires Abby and Jonah to devise a plan whereby they can wake Robin, help Bri fall asleep, find a magic portal and return with Robin to their home before Robin’s mother comes to pick her up.

     Dream On is a good romp through fairytale land with a king, queen, carriage, castle, abbey, servants, faeries, commoners and rose gardens. There are some deviations from fairytale land, such as a younger brother for Princess Brianna – Prince Felix, garage sales, commomer t shirts and a drum set.

     Though Dream On is an easy read, complete sentences are not always part of the text (as one can see in the excerpt) and again on page 50, “Then on Bri’s cheek.” One may find this consistent with the first person narrative, but I found it jarring and bothersome.

     There is also an editing glitch found on page 50. Abby and Jonah are trying to wake Robin and put Bri to sleep. This involves a lullaby which is not very successful. At this point, Bri suggests Abby hum instead: “I nod. Then I hum. Robin closes her eyes. I keep humming. Hummmmmmmm.” Robin is already asleep at this point, and it is obviously Bri (not Robin) who closes her eyes.

     There are other things that are jarring to an adult reader, as mentioned, the juxtaposition of fairytale land with modernities. One that leapt out at me was a drum set sitting next to a harp in the ballroom (p. 107). This was an anomaly to me as I have a daughter who plays the harp and one who plays drum set. This juxtaposition is often a source of conversation with our friends, and so it really struck me as problematic in fairytale land. However, I think these distinctions would go relatively unnoticed by the younger readers and, if noticed, would likely add to the humour of the piece.

     This offering is entirely plot driven with characters showing up to move things along as needed.

     Dream On is not great literature. However, if you can stomach the grammar errors and the inconsistencies in fairytale land, this would be a good choice for those looking to develop reading skills or for one looking for an easy, fun romp.

Recommended with Reservations.

Ruth McMahon, who is a professional librarian working in a Middle School library in Alberta, has two teenaged daughters.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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