Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Nocturne: Dream Recipes Varied and Easy to Make (in just 5 minutes) by Isol

I was up very late watching spectacular Canada Day fireworks over the North Saskatchewan river in Edmonton, so a book about sleep is perfect for this morning.

Nocturne is the singular creation of Isol, an Argentine illustrator who received the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award earlier this year. More artifact than book, Nocturne is coil-bound at the top and has a base that unfolds to make it stand sturdily at bedside. Two different whimsical illustrations are superimposed on each page, one printed with glow-in-the-dark ink.

"Before you go to sleep, open the book to the dream you've chosen and place it on your night table under a bright light. (A dream is like a moth that loves to get close to the light when no one is looking.) Wait for a least 5 minutes, and don't make any noise or you will scare the dream away. [...] Turn out the light! You will see the luminous traces that the dream leaves behind on the page. Look for as long as you like, then close your eyes and follow the dream to its hiding place."

Included are: the boring book Dream (with giant animals peering down at a reader who has fallen asleep); the Dream of going far away (to find friendly aliens on another planet); and the Dream underwater (complete with mermaid). In the Dream of growing, a girl waters three seeds under a tiny orange sun. The phosphorescent image shows the girl riding the tops of the grown plants, with the sun in the location of her heart. Magical!

The Cats of Tanglewood Forest, another children's book that I've read recently, coincidentally mentions dreams. In De Lint's book, under the branches of an ancient beech, "cats would come to dream and be dreamed." Nocturne offers a wonderful opportunity for adults to talk about dreams and dreaming with young people from about Grade 2 and up.

Children who enjoy Nocturne might also like The Dreamer (Pam Munoz Ryan) with its surreal illustrations by Peter Sis; Stormy Night (Michele Lemieux) about the thorny philosophical questions that keep us from sleeping; and The Rabbit Problem (Emily Gravett) another quirky book that is more of an artifact than container for a story.

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