Joshua Walter, illustrated by Becky Walter

Publisher: Xlibris Pages: 25 Price: (paperback) $15.99 ISBN: 9781493184224 Reviewed: August, 2015 Author Website: Visit »

Dreamland is a bedtime tale about the stories we weave while sleeping. A picture book in rhyming verse, it encourages children to sleep by assuring them that they can be whatever they want to be in their dreams.

In this book, Dreamland is the place that unfurls while children sleep. Once there, children can “escape the worries of reality” and “be whatever [they] want to be. ” ”Unicorns, superheroes, friends galore —/ In Dreamland there is so much more,” the author writes.

Rather than providing stories within stories or creative situations, the narrative relies on lists and standard fare adults associate with children: the abovementioned unicorns and superheroes exist in Dreamland, for instance, and in Dreamland children can be just as smart and strong as they desire, and can both fly and walk on water.

Nightmares aren’t touched on in this story, and children are described as having far more control over their dreams than they actually experience.  At the same time, bright illustrations with contrasting colors prevent the story from being a gentle, soothing read that might lull children to sleep.

Dreamland’s most distracting flaw, however, is its narrative’s forced rhyme scheme. From unusual phrasing (“You want to be strong; you want to be smart./This is the place where it all does start.” ) to awkward slant rhymes (“But when you awaken, do not despair,/As you will be back when nighttime reappears.”), the narrative feels scattered and unpolished.

In the end, Dreamland presents a standard concept—exploring dreams through the eyes of children—without utilizing the captivating language, illustrations, or stories that set apart other comparable books in this genre. All told, these issues prevent Dreamland from being a memorable read.

Also available in hardcover and ebook.

Author's Current Residence
Bellevue, Nebraska
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