What do armadillos dream about? Perhaps being a Dreamadillo who brings good dreams to children—a sweet invention to comfort young readers in this intriguingly illustrated debut by author/illustrator Bevan.
A sleeping armadillo dreams of leaving behind his simple yet safe brown armor for a bright-green hot air balloon and purple skin. From there, this picture book shows young readers a world full of chaotic dream bubbles: fish wearing top hats on their bicycles, little girls sailing boats on rainbow seas, children and giraffes and elephants flying in planes, and unicorns wearing roller skates while eating lollipops. Dreamadillo matches the right dream to the right child, so that every child in an appealingly diverse mix will have a good night’s sleep. Dreamadillo also traps nightmares to keep them from terrorizing the children he protects. But even Dreamadillo has enemies: Buttons the Buzzard and Tricky the Snake, depicted as sock puppet–like creatures, steal dream jars from Dreamadillo’s shelves. With help from readers—who are encouraged to tell the pair of bandits, “You can’t steal MY dreams!”—Dreamadillo wraps up the pair in rainbow bindings, sharing the book’s final secret: readers have the power to make their own real-world dreams come true “with practice, and patience, and just enough might.” The fantastic illustrations, in a mix of photographlike and cartoonish images, are the real draw here. In the final pages, children float like butterflies on wings created from their quilts, all while blowing bubbles filled with their own dreams for the future. Colors are bold and bright throughout, and Dreamadillo’s comfortingly cartoon shape set against the computer-generated textures and realistic-looking children’s faces makes for a dreamlike juxtaposition. Bevan’s book is an excellent jumping-off point for parents or caregivers to talk about dreams with lap readers, particularly since each image gives readers plenty of details to look at while they listen.
Brightly colored bedtime rhyming book with a lackluster plot, helped by visuals in a detailed dreamscape.