The dreams of woodland creatures—and one Little Dreamer’s—take the spotlight in this whimsical exploration of nighttime fantasies.
“What does the Little Snake dream / at the end of the day? / After the wriggling, / the sunning, the play.” An unnamed narrator poses the question as a black-haired, light-brown–skinned girl observes a snake slithering through grass. An answer follows in the next spread: the text shifts into the first person (and the type into one that emulates hand printing) as the snake fantasizes about sailing the skies as a kite’s tail. A pattern soon forms. Using a gentle rhyming scheme, Gray introduces readers to Little Deer, Little Newt, and other creatures in their natural environments before plumbing the depths of their dreams. Delight comes in the shape of the unexpected. For example, Little Turtle’s dream of a Sky Turtle “playing hide-and-seek” stuns in its quiet simplicity. Pak’s watercolor pictures capture the wistful tone during moments like these. Hazy, smeared colors and loose lines reflect the relaxed pace of the story, mitigating the danger-filled undercurrent that occasionally pops up. (The illustration for Little Mouse’s dream of leaving “that cat behind on shore” obscures a strange tension in retrospect.) After each creature shares its dream, the girl must share hers. “What does Little Dreamer dream / at the end of the day?” That question may apply to readers as well.
A hushed, lyrical glimpse into the world of dreamers. (Picture book. 4-7)