Sea of Dreams Hardcover – Oct 25 2011
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“Kids drawn to the mystical minieature possibilities of the Borrower-esque in dollhouses and such will immediately appreciate the possibilities here.” ―BCCB
“Children will love to pore over the illustrations, compare the two castles, the night skies, and the two views of the rocky cove, and wonder whether the new castle will withstand the night's waves.” ―School Library Journal
“One thing's certain: It's magic.” ―Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
“Nolan's enchanting artwork creates a gorgeous, wordless nautical fantasy infused with the thrill of life-or-death adventure.” ―Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“In an ode to the beauty and mystery of the sea through imaginative storytelling and stunning art, Nolan allows readers to feel as if they are experiencing this dream-world firsthand.” ―Horn Book Magazine
About the Author
Dennis Nolan is the author and illustrator of Dinosaur Dream, a Golden Kite Honor Book selection, Sea of Dreams, The Castle Builder, and Wolf Child, as well as the illustrator of many award-winning books including The Sword in the Stone, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and The Skywriter, the latter for Roaring Brook Press. He lives in Massachusetts.
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The book has no written story or text within. Instead, there are a series of illustrations on each page that enable the reader to make up one's own story which is what we did. My daughter and I took turns making up a story for each picture, with the rule that our story needed to flow so that it would make sense. Little did we realize the treat and surprise we were both in for! The illustration starts off innocently enough with a young girl playing on the beach and building a sandcastle. But as we turned the pages, that sandcastle revealed a magical surprise that took us both into a realm of fantasy and magical adventure, and let our imaginations conjure an equally fantastical storyline! This is a book to be treasured, along the lines of Chris Van Allsburg's The Mysteries of Harris Burdick (Portfolio Edition).
For what are we without our dreams? What are we without our high and lofty aspirations? If we have no hope of something better than this filthy, wretched world, are we really any better than the animals?
Mr. Nolan's illustrations are beautiful and engrossing. In fact, when I first picked up the book, I could hardly tear my eyes from the enchanting images.
At one point, a young boy is almost consumed by a fish, by just in time a few mermaid children save him. They are rather skimpily clad in what appears to be ribbonish seaweed. This is my one and only problem with this book, but it bothers me so little that I still give it 5 stars.
I do believe this book could be expanded into a thrilling classic. Thank you, Mr. Nolan, for providing me so much happiness through your remarkably ingenious tale. It has turned something so simple into something simply magical.
Having "read" this book countless times over the years with our children and their friends, we still discover new details and new dimensions to the story. We still discuss what "really" happened.
Isn't that what you'd want from a book?
Bonus for multi-lingual families - finally a book that all grandparents and members of extended family can "read" irrespective of the language involved!