Aleesah Darlison (text), Emma Middleton (illus.), The Dream Bird, Wombat Books, 1 April 2018, 32pp., $19.99 (hbk), ISBN: 9781925563337
The Dream Bird is an enchanting, gentle, bedtime story perfect for any child having trouble falling asleep.
At the beginning of the story, we learn that; ‘George was a day child’. The little boy loved playing in the light and the sunshine, but no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t seem to fall asleep at night. While George’s family lovingly offer suggestions for falling asleep, like counting sheep and drinking warm milk, nothing seemed to help.
One night, while experiencing that particular type of loneliness and despair that a child feels during those late, lonely hours, George creeps into his Gran’s room clutching his teddy. And it is here that his gentle, loving Gran manages to soothe George with sweet, magical bedtime story that eventually lulls him into a peaceful and happy sleep.
Gran’s bedtime tale creates a wonderful story-within-a-story. The tale transports George into a magical world, where he rides upon a beautiful white swan – the Dream Bird – into a beautiful snow-covered world of fairy-cottages, kingdoms made of lollies, snow leopards and ‘blue oceans with beautiful mermaids’. As Gran explains, when each child in this enchanted kingdom falls asleep, the Dream Bird will whisper ‘Sweet dream, beautiful child’ to deliver them happy dreams. And sure enough, as he falls into a soothing and comforting sleep, George’s mind is filled with happy, beautiful dreams.
This is enchanting story will be a wonderful resource for parents trying to help their little ones fall asleep, and will be relatable for children who have trouble sleeping. The lush, pastel-hued illustrations add to the dreamlike quality of the story, and capture in glorious detail both George’s lovely home and family, as well as the fantastical world conjured in Gran’s story.
This enchanting picture book will make a wonderful addition to any child’s bookshelf and the perfect bedtime story.
Reviewed by Melinda Allan