Children’s Book Review: The Dreamer

AThe Dreamer Coverfter reading Long Night Moon by Cynthia Rylant, I wanted to check out some other books by her. We had The Dreamer at the library where I work, and I thought the illustrations looked beautiful after a quick flip through, so I checked it out.

I suppose I should have realized as I flipped through that this book was a retelling of the story of creation. This book depicts God as an artist who daydreams and creates the things he sees in his dreams.

“As he dreamed in his mind, he would see something he hadn’t seen before. Something beautiful. Something new.”

He sees stars and decides to cut them out of paper, and then he has the heavens.

The Dreamer 1

“This is the story of the one who dreamed the world.”

The Dreamer 2

The dreamer needs someone to see the beautiful things he has made, so he creates humankind.

I really enjoyed the absolutely beautiful illustrations in this book. I could see myself framing some of these on my wall. Moser’s illustrations perfectly match the story; they might have even made the story more beautiful for me. The prose was gorgeous as well.

The book has a kind of dreamlike quality to it, much like the daydreams that the artist is having in which he imagines all of these wonderful new creations he can make. The reader floats along on clouds with the dreamer. The story was quite enjoyable and very creative.

Publication info:

The Dreamer

Written by Cynthia Rylant; illustrated by Barry Moser

Published by Scholastic; October 1993

32 pages (hardcover)


Book Review: Long Night Moon

Long Night Moon by Cynthia Rylant was recommended to me by the children’s librarian at the library where I work. I was immediately drawn to the cover and as I flipped through it to see if I might like it, I was drawn to the artwork inside as well. So I checked it out, and I’m so glad I did.

Long Night Moon Cover

I was mesmerized for a straight 10 minutes by this book. Long Night Moon is a magical story, quite similar to the oral storytelling tradition of the past. Its prose was poetic at times, just beautiful.

The synopsis on the book says:

Have you ever stopped to consider what might be revealed in one spot over one year by twelve unique and exquisite full moons?

Each spread of the book discusses the twelve moons of the year, January – December. Some of my favorites were (I apologize if the pics are crappy):

Long Night Moon Long Night Moon 3Long Night Moon 4

The book seems pretty simple at first, but once you read several moons into the story, you realize that each page is written in adoration of each full moon of the year. It’s enchanting. The words flow like moonlight through the trees: gentle, soft, sweet. The words themselves have been carefully chosen, just as their placement on the page has been. If you look at the November page again, you’ll see that the last three words (“might just sleep”) have been place so that you emulate a pause, a sleepiness to the words as you read. I thought this was wonderful. I love how lovingly this book was planned.

The illustrations are just beautiful as well. The illustrator explains that he chose to use charcoal because it can capture “that velvety mysterious light that softens everything, bathing nature in a dreamy luminosity.” That is exactly what came across in the illustrations. They are just gorgeous. Absolutely soft and smooth.

Rylant’s words are not only beautiful but they are emotive as well. The mixture of her words and the illustrations transport you to the month and you are able to feel as if you are actually there experiencing that moon. This book perfectly shows how words and their spacing on the page can convey emotions. This book comes across not only as a beautiful story, but as poetry, as song.

I would definitely recommend reading this book, not only if you have children, but if you love beautiful stories and books.

Publication info:

Long Night Moon

Written by Cynthia Rylant; illustrated by Mark Siegel

Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; December 2004

32 pages (hardcover)