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AN AWESOME BOOK! by Dallas Clayton


by Dallas Clayton & illustrated by Dallas Clayton

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: April 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-06-211468-6
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

An earnest invitation to dream big, dude, and then bigger yet.

Self-published in 2009 and gone viral in both print and free online versions, Clayton’s inspirational litany decries “un-fantastical and practical” dreams in favor of those “that no one thought to wonder / dreams so big that they’ve got dreams and they’ve got dreams up under!” His hand lettered, all-uppercase lines caption equally emphatic full-bleed cartoon scenes that contrast views of slump-shouldered, Roz Chast–style underachievers with dizzying retro sprays of surreal exuberance. The art sometimes undermines the message—dreams that “scream,” “sing” and “shout,” for instance, are all represented by similarly bellowing monsters, while the supposedly drab dream of “buying a new hat” is expressed visually with a wild, full-page blizzard of different kinds of headgear. Moreover, the metrics are clumsy at best (“…remember what I said / ‘Close your eyes my child / and dream / that perfect dream / inside your head’ ”), and those reading it aloud will have a very difficult time navigating the almost punctuation-free text. Nevertheless, it’s a worthy effort to prod children (and adults, for that matter) out of mental ruts. Or at least crank their aspirations up a notch.

Share with your kid, or lay it on a new grad or parental unit for some literary feel-good action. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)