How do you make a dream a reality?
In 1978, at age 23, McGillivray, inspired by a cyclist who rode 3,000 miles across the country, began a run of nearly 3,450 miles across America to raise money for kids with cancer. How did he do it? With four years of planning, grit, hope, and appreciation of others for a start. This well-intentioned autobiographical selection traces his route, focusing on his resilience, his hard work, and the lessons he learned along the way. Colorful, sometimes awkward illustrations accompany a text that’s full of positivity, each double-page spread concluding with an affirmation such as “BIG dreams require BIG Faith” or “Every dream is sprinkled with doubts. Dream anyway!” While the story’s—and McGillivray’s—aspirations are praiseworthy, the tale itself, clearly designed to inspire others, has a tone that’s disarming but sometimes pedantic, and the development of skill and necessity of practice are glossed over in favor of the account of the run itself. Still, this selection may well inspire and motivate youngsters and can easily serve as a vehicle to teaching and developing social emotional skills, the importance of setting and reaching goals, and the need for fundraising and volunteerism. McGillivray and most of the people he encounters present white; there are some people of color in the backgrounds.
Its heart’s in the right place, but the execution’s lackluster. (Informational picture book. 5-8)