Boy on the Brink
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Boy on the Brink

by David McPhail
     
 

That night there was a storm. Thunder shook the boy's bed and sent it flying . . . and when it landed, the bed was transformed into a world of mountains and valleys, with a river that spilled over a waterfall into a vast green sea.

A little boy is always the hero in his adventurous dreams...

After a fun-filled day of fishing, playing on the beach

Overview

That night there was a storm. Thunder shook the boy's bed and sent it flying . . . and when it landed, the bed was transformed into a world of mountains and valleys, with a river that spilled over a waterfall into a vast green sea.

A little boy is always the hero in his adventurous dreams...

After a fun-filled day of fishing, playing on the beach, and riding ponies at a carnival, a young boy goes to sleep and dreams of adventures inspired by the day's events. The boy rescues a yellow-haired girl from the castle guards, patches a crack in the dam, and saves a giant ship from falling off the edge of a waterfall, always managing to escape from the brink of disaster.

Award-winning author and illustrator David McPhail's distinctive artwork casts nighttime dreaming in a new light.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
If only dreams came true. By day, this active little boy lives limited by grown-ups' warnings and rules. But by night, he's a horse-ridin', lasso-tossin', fair-maiden-savin' hero! Daytime quests come alive in his unrepressed dreams. Most young children can relate to this youngster's wild escapades after falling asleep: No rules limit the imagination then! The gentle but lively illustrations contribute to the wistful mood of this pleasant little picture book. A great choice for generating written or verbal responses from children, it lends itself to fantasizing that anything is possible. The story could be used as a dreamy companion to The Polar Express. With some challenging vocabulary, the book could be read aloud as children use the delicate illustrations to predict what will happen next. While this could be a great book for various classroom uses, it could also be a settling naptime story or an entertaining segue to bedtime. 2006, Henry Holt, Ages 3 to 6.
—Kara Byrne
School Library Journal
K-Gr 1-A story that is less logical than psychological. Readers are skipped like a stone across a quick series of events in the day of an unnamed boy. The unifying factor is the constant reminder that there are uncontrollable, scary things out there (trains, heights, sharks). While the child sleeps, a squall arises; italics and shimmering scenes from his subconscious mind alert readers to the second part of the book-his dream. All the things he was taught to fear, and more, rise to confront him and be conquered, also in rapid succession. It's a sophisticated and elemental notion and is only partially successful. The language is too choppy to take passengers from thought to thought. The sentences have no grace, no poetry, and no fun. But McPhail is known mainly for his artwork, and this story really shows his astonishing range of talent. One page looks like an Asian landscape, another like a Totem pole. Yet they're all watercolor and ink, and all unmistakably McPhail. Some pictures might be a little unsettling, and the prose is certainly bumpy. But there's a lot to look at here.-Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A young boy is having a great day fishing, going to the beach and to a carnival, but the elders of the family are quick to issue warnings: "Not too close," "Stay out of the caves," "Hold on tight." Once asleep that night, though, there is adventure afoot, and no overprotective grownups to throw a wrench into the works as he plays hero, ". . . and when the bed landed, it was transformed into a world of mountains and valleys, with a river that spilled into a waterfall and a vast green sea." McPhail's dreamscapes pull the neat trick of being shadowy and lustrous at the same time, and the spidery pen work populates the illustrations with things that go bump in the night. This sense of lurking danger is more often suggestive than specific, and it's an edgy pleasure to explore the art while following the boy's exciting progress. It is equally enjoyable to see how the boy's waking life has been appropriated by the dreams. These are the dreams that a young boy dreams of dreaming. (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805076189
Publisher:
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date:
05/02/2006
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.33(w) x 10.16(h) x 0.48(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

David McPhail is the author of many books for children, including Mole Music, The Teddy Bear, and the popular Pig Pig stories. He lives with his family in Rye, New Hampshire.

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