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Ready to Dream

Overview

With the power of creativity comes the ability to dream big . . .

Ally and her mother are visiting Australia for the summer, and she can’t wait to start drawing all the new animals that she’ll see. But when Ally meets Pauline, an Aboriginal woman who’s also an artist, she learns that art isn’t always created with just paper and paints, and that mistakes are actually happy accidents. Donna Jo Napoli and her daughter were inspired to write this story after spending many summers in...

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Overview

With the power of creativity comes the ability to dream big . . .

Ally and her mother are visiting Australia for the summer, and she can’t wait to start drawing all the new animals that she’ll see. But when Ally meets Pauline, an Aboriginal woman who’s also an artist, she learns that art isn’t always created with just paper and paints, and that mistakes are actually happy accidents. Donna Jo Napoli and her daughter were inspired to write this story after spending many summers in Australia, and Aboriginal artist Bronwyn Bancroft’s dynamic illustrations bring to life this inspiring story about creativity and imagination.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Quiet dignity marks Napoli (Stones in Water), Furrow and Aboriginal artist Bancroft's account of a child's encounter with Australia and its indigenous artists. Ally, an American girl, is interested in art as a product and fears mistakes; Pauline, a shamanlike Aboriginal painter, encourages Ally to see past appearances. In the mother-daughter team's respectful text, Pauline says, "Every picture has a story to tell. Let the lorikeet dream its story." By the close of her monthlong trip, Ally can perceive without judging. When the wind blows away a sand picture they've made, she rejoices: "Our picture's everywhere." Pauline tells her, "Now you're ready to dream." Using the earthen pigments, heavy outlines and decorative dots and swirls of indigenous Australian art, Bancroft pictures Ally and Pauline from the same side-on view throughout, while the text runs like subtitles along the bottom of the page; the effect is like a documentary. A useful introduction to a radically different culture, and a fine portrait of a child and her mentor. Ages 4-8. (Jan.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Ally, an eager young artist, travels with her mother to spend a month in Alice Springs, Australia. There, she encounters an old woman named Pauline, said to be an artist. When she shows the woman a picture she has created, Ally is introduced to a different way of making and viewing pictures. As she travels about with her mother, Ally explores the scenery and creatures around her, from river to desert, and kangaroos to wombats. Pauline gives new meanings to whatever Ally finds and paints. "Every picture has a story to tell," Pauline says, making Ally think about what she has seen and painted. When Ally draws with Pauline in the sand and the wind blows it away, Pauline tells her, "Now you are ready to dream." Bancroft uses acrylics and the Aboriginal style, with dots filling the end pages and adding solidity to landscape and sky. The large sun's rays are snake-like in their twisting, with dots covering their bodies and others supplementing the energy of the sun, There is almost a child-like quality to the page designs and the people, who are drawn with heavy black outlines; the text runs across the bottoms of the pages in solid color bands. The mysterious quality of the Aboriginal Dreamtime blends here with the art. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

Gr 2-4

During a trip to Australia with her mother, Ally, a young artist, meets an Aboriginal woman who is also an artist. As the child goes off on adventures, she draws the things she sees and then shows her work to Pauline. The woman tries to teach Ally that art is not a straight reporting of the facts, nor should it be limited to paper. Heart, mind, and imagination-as well as the lessons that nature teaches-must also figure into the renderings. When Ally uses her own arms as a canvas to draw lorikeet feathers, she closes her eyes and feels as though she's flying. As her visit ends, Pauline declares, "Now you're ready to dream." Done by an Aboriginal artist in strong, deep colors, the acrylic paintings combine primitive depictions of the characters with striking views of the Australian landscape. The reds, browns, and yellows of the desert scenes contrast effectively with the dark blues and greens of the water and sky. The stylized images are decorated with detailed patterns that employ vibrant color combinations. Though the story might be a bit too vague for some children, this handsome book could be used to introduce Aboriginal dream paintings, or as inspiration for young artists to open their eyes and expand their horizons.-Ieva Bates, Ann Arbor District Library, MI

Kirkus Reviews
When Ally visits Australia, she takes her art supplies and draws. She meets Pauline, an indigenous artist who carefully considers each of Ally's pictures: crocodiles, kangaroos, koalas, lorikeets. Pauline leads Ally to understand the uniquely Aboriginal belief that art is a metaphysical process in which the essence of the subject is manifested in each painted image (i.e., a painting of a koala on eucalyptus bark curls just like the koala curls when sleeping). The authors (mother and daughter) and illustrator (noted Aboriginal artist) succeed in leading both the reader and Ally to understand the abstract concept. The brief text is mysterious but unembellished. Bancroft's paintings reflect both modernity and the spirit of her ancient tradition. Acrylic paintings are naif in style; palette and line are bold while oversimplified figures are flat. Symbolic forms and patterns such as dots and circles within circles impart pleasing ornamentation and energy. Highly recommended for young painters who will be encouraged, like Ally, to test their artistic wings. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781599900490
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 1/6/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,180,142
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD490L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.80 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Award-winning author DONNA JO NAPOLI has written dozens of books for children and teens, including Smile, Bound, and Albert. Donna Jo lives in the Philadelphia area. www.donnajonapoli.com ELENA FURROWis Donna Jo’s daughter and a first-time author. She lives with her family in Missoula, Montana, where she works as a physician. BRONWYN BANCROFT is an Aboriginal artist and designer whose work has been displayed all over the world. She has illustrated more than a dozen books for children, including Big Rain Coming by Katrina Germein. She lives with her three children in Sydney, Australia.

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