CM . . . .
Volume VII Number 5 . . . . November 3, 2000
Sweet dreams, I whisper,The inspiration for this book occurred one evening when the author, Eugenie Fernandes, was rocking her young granddaughter to sleep. In the "Forward," Fernandes reminds the reader that babies "are watching us, and listening" and, in that way, are creating many of their memories that last forever. The jacket notes suggest that sharing this book with a young child might allow the child to remember the "fleeting moments" of the dream world.
Each illustration is a work of art. Fernandes uses rich and vibrant colors that sweep across the page. She loves circles and swirls, shadows and light. The pictures are full of details which will stimulate vocabulary development and maintain the child's sense of curiosity. Nature is well represented with animals, trees, flowers, sunlight and showers. Many of the scenes focus on babies sleeping on soft pillows in cradles.
Like the nursery rhyme "Rock-a-bye-Baby," however, not all the images are comforting. The title page has a child in a cradle suspended in the clouds and reaching for a rabbit that is falling to the ground. Another illustration is a depiction of the saying "raining cats and dogs" with a teary-eyed baby falling from the clouds with the cats and dogs and raindrops.
The text of this book is written as a poem with a short verse opposite each picture. The text page also has a small, square illustration which is taken from one of the larger illustrations. Children would have fun searching for the origin of the insert. Throughout the text, several of the letters are consistently decorated with dots or small marks. This approach might be attractive to very young children but could be very distracting to adults and would not create a good foundation for letter recognition.
Fernandes' amazing imagination is evident in the over 80 books that she has illustrated or stories she has written such as The Tree That Grew to the Moon. Baby Dreams is no exception. How many mothers have watched the faces of their peaceful sleeping babies and wondered where their dreams are taking them?
Recommended with reservations.
Susan Fonseca is a teacher-librarian at Glenwood School in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
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