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READY TO DREAM by Donna Jo Napoli


by Donna Jo Napoli and Elena Furrow and illustrated by Bronwyn Bancroft

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Jan. 6th, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-59990-049-0
Publisher: Bloomsbury

When Ally visits Australia, she takes her art supplies and draws. She meets Pauline, an indigenous artist who carefully considers each of Ally’s pictures: crocodiles, kangaroos, koalas, lorikeets. Pauline leads Ally to understand the uniquely Aboriginal belief that art is a metaphysical process in which the essence of the subject is manifested in each painted image (i.e., a painting of a koala on eucalyptus bark curls just like the koala curls when sleeping). The authors (mother and daughter) and illustrator (noted Aboriginal artist) succeed in leading both the reader and Ally to understand the abstract concept. The brief text is mysterious but unembellished. Bancroft’s paintings reflect both modernity and the spirit of her ancient tradition. Acrylic paintings are naïf in style; palette and line are bold while oversimplified figures are flat. Symbolic forms and patterns such as dots and circles within circles impart pleasing ornamentation and energy. Highly recommended for young painters who will be encouraged, like Ally, to test their artistic wings. (Picture book. 5-8)