The Dreamer written and illustrated by Il Sung Na. Chronicle, 9781452156088, 2018.
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3
What did you like about the book? Beautiful soft but expressive brushwork tells the story of a pig who longs to fly. The illustrator skillfully mixes perspectives: a close-up as large Pig ponders possible solutions followed by very small Pig, hands on hips as he studies a huge blackboard covered with scrawled equations. Through a series of trial and errors, soliciting ideas from friends and showing some mighty grit, Pig finally realizes his dream.
Anything you didn’t like about it? It’s very message-y. I can imagine it being used in school to teach problem solving, but I’m not sure it would be an obvious favorite with kids. The art is definitely stronger than the story telling. Some of the vocabulary seems forced (Pig’s “hope blossomed”; “modified” and “momentum” also make appearances.)
To whom would you recommend this book? The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires is more fun and suspenseful and covers similar ground. Also, I just read After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) by Dan Santat and thought it was wonderful. Spoiler alert: Humpty also wants to fly and I got a genuine lump in my throat reading about his efforts. Not so with the pig.
Who should buy this book? Elementary and public libraries. Could be a replacement for Oh, the Places You’ll Go as a well-meaning graduation gift that will get looked at briefly before being left in one’s childhood bedroom.
Where would you shelve it ? Picture books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No, but the art is really nice.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA
Date of review: November 15, 2018