" A loving father empowering their child’s imagination"
December 2023 Book of the Month
This beautiful picturebook has grown from a poem the award-winning author contributed to The Book of Hopes collected by Katherine Rundell during the dark days of lockdown.
There it begins by inviting the reader to make a picturebook “Here are the Words. Now do the pictures” and delightfully that is exactly what Klaus Flugge shortlisted artist Gill Smith has done. In warm autumnal shades and the vivid deep blues of nighttime, these mixed media images bring the story to life.
“The boy” has become Joe and we meet him gazing out of his bedroom window at the stars. The bedroom has evidence of his astronaut and engineering ambitions, with planet mobiles and poster, rockets and towers. The illustrations also bring out the lovely father/ son relationship that is at the heart of the book.
Joe’s Dad is a fabulous role model for imaginative, responsive parenting. He notices a friend is laughing at Joe’s dreams and intervenes to help. A lot of fun ensues as they try all sorts of quite physically perilous ways to reach the stars, but Dad is always there to catch Joe. Amidst all the laughter when his father asks if Joe is ready to give up, it’s now Joe who exclaims, “In your dreams.” And in a wonderfully expressive addition to the original poem, we see that is how they eventually achieve their aim.
After decorating their shed with a gloriously painted night sky, they fall asleep and, in their dreams, they finally “danced among the stars.” This is a parent who knows the importance of what Yeats said in another poem “Tread softly because you tread on my dreams” and a gentle, warm reminder to all of us not to crush imagination.