SWEET DREAMERS by Isabelle Simler
Kirkus Star


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 3 - 8
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A stylized, visually stunning introduction to animals and animal facts that doubles neatly as a bedtime story.

In this French import, slumbering animals, insects, and sea creatures are depicted in highly detailed spreads paired with lyrical free verse. Delicate clusters of lines characterize the digital illustrations, which, dominated by black, resemble scratchboard with a modern twist: Vibrant neon-orange highlights the moonlit details on nearly every page. The visual and verbal pacing excels. Wordless full-bleed landscape endpapers and title pages gently draw readers in, inspiring quiet wonder and appreciation of the natural world before zooming in on the first featured creature: a sloth, asleep in a tree. What follows is an organic, loosely educational exploration of animals’ experiences of sleep: In each spread, Simler’s text, translated from the original French, cleverly acknowledges fact (the sloth sleeps “slung like a hammock”) while entertaining flights of fancy (“the sloth dreams / of spring-loaded sprinters, / of rockets blasting off”). The creatures themselves are easily recognizable; many, refreshingly, are less-common subjects, including a humpback whale, a flamingo, and a wild boar. Every so often, the close-up animal spreads are punctuated by new wordless nighttime landscape spreads over which to linger. In the final spread, an unnamed light-skinned girl slumbers: a cue for readers to do the same. The satisfyingly large trim size, soothing pacing, and imaginative text invite shared (and frequent) reading.

A delight. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: March 26th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-8028-5517-6
Page count: 80pp
Publisher: Eerdmans
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2019


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