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From the PublisherCTTC Recommended Read 2014
Deakin Review of Children's Litearture: This is a gorgeously illustrated book which offers readers the opportunity to “float” in a dream boat, travelling deep into the richly-embroidered dreams of children from different lands and varying traditions.
Starred review, Quill & Quire, April issue
“I don’t have naps. I have adventures. I don’t sleep in a bed. I ride in a Dream Boat.” So begins Vancouver author Dan Bar-el’s delicious journey into the reveries of children all over the world.
Marco is whisked away in a boat made of reeds to the Andes, where the stars guide him to his grandparents’ village for dancing and feasting. Kaia’s cedar canoe flies her to Haida Gwaii for a potlatch, while Ivan’s mighty frigate sails past the Bear Spirits to the realm of Baba Yaga and the Firebird. From Babatunde gliding along the waters of the Niger to Shenaz in her fishing boat being sprinkled with spray from Giant Ganesh’s trunk, these children all have their own vessels that take them away to lands of myth and memory.
This is a gorgeous bedtime book. Bar-el’s poetic prose sweeps the reader along on the swish of the water and the wind that vaults the boats aloft. The vignettes about each child are interspersed with pages in which children representing diverse cultures meet and play together in the air.
Kirsti Anne Wakelin’s rich, multi-layered illustrations convey both the spirit of adventure and the children’s sleepiness. Whisking the reader between cultures and across boundaries of night and day, earth and air, reality and fantasy, the pictures embody the interweaving of the children’s stories. Words and pictures float together and, like the Dream Boats, “dock gently.” – Joanne Findon
Lemon Squash Bookclub -
“Where do children go when they close their eyes to sleep?
They step onto their dreamboats and sail toward adventure.
From Maiqui in the Andes floating through the constellations, to Aljuu paddling along the shores of Haida Gwaii with Eagle, Orca and Black Bear, to Ivan sailing into St. Petersburg, then sneaking between the bony legs of Baba Yaga, stories and memories lead them on.
Dream Boats takes readers into the dreams of children around the world, dreams that are filled with family and legends, culture and love. Written in lyrical prose by Dan Bar-el with gorgeous art by Kirsti Anne Wakelin, this is a book to be treasured by generations of dreamers.
School Library Journal:
This is a truly remarkable book! Captivating, it comprises a feast of double-page illustrations of outstanding quality, and prose of powerfully poetic strength. The dream boats and those they carry explore different seas, different worlds and different populatins. My only reservation centres on the publisher's suggestion that it is a book suitable for the 4 to 8 range. Some very young children will have happy encounters with this unique book, but, beyond doubt, many readers well beyond the age of 8 and well into mature adult years are likely to be entranced by what is presented here in both skilled language and intriguing illustrations.