Monday 30 April 2018

The Dream Bird

The Dream Bird by Aleesah Darlison, illustrated by Emma Middleton (Wombat Books) HB RRP $19.99
ISBN 978192556337
Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Ask any parent and they’ll tell you they’ve spent many hours reading bed-time stories to their small children. Mother of four, Australian author Aleesah Darlison, has written this beautifully illustrated picture book for both parent and child. It’s about toddler George who is active at day but when time comes for sleep, he’s wide awake. His sister and brother, Mum and Dad, offer solutions to falling sleep, but nothing works. Perhaps Gran can help?

When Gran finds George in her room crying, she promises she has ‘just the thing that will help.’  Subsequently, with her small grandson tucked into her bed, Gran tells him the story of the dream bird ‘as tall as a flamingo and as graceful as a butterfly’ which sings children ‘to sleep, giving them the happiest dreams possible.’ Of course, the story works and George slips into ‘the happiest dream he’d ever had.’

This is a simple story, well told, which is a good one to read to children resisting or unable to sleep. The illustrations are detailed and lavished, but the only flaw it would seem is that most of them are painted – in a magical realism style – using great swathes of pink. As this is a story of a boy, it seems odd to use a colour normally associated with girls – or do young boys not worry about ‘pink’ books?

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