Sea of Dreams

by Dennis Nolan (Author) Dennis Nolan (Illustrator)

Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

 A wordless picture book featuring a sandcastle that takes on a life of its own.

On a beautiful sunlit beach, a girl builds a magnificent sandcastle. As night falls the girl heads for home. Waves move ever closer to the castle, threatening its survival. Suddenly, in one of its windows, a light comes on . . .

Sea of Dreams is a Publishers Weekly Best Children's Picture Books title for 2011.


Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

Reminiscent of David Wiesner's Flotsam and Irene Haas's The Maggie B, Nolan's enchanting artwork creates a gorgeous, wordless nautical fantasy infused with the thrill of life-or-death adventure. On a cloudless day at the beach, a girl builds a sand castle that, as the sun sets, is overtaken by the tide; readers soon see a puzzling glow of light in one of the castle's windows, where a family appears to be stranded. Nolan (The Skywriter) portrays the Lilliputian family's fraught journey in a series of luminous double-page scenes, as they navigate roiling, sea-green waves in a crude boat, with a seagull as their guide. When a boy is washed overboard, he is in danger of being eaten by a magnificent orange fish until he is rescued by childlike mermaids, who are joined by equally delicate seahorses. The family finds refuge on a rocky island where Nolan offers paintings of shells and starfish as beautiful as they are accurate. The girl returns to the beach the next day, builds another castle, and the cycle begins anew. Readers will never look at the beach the same way. Ages 3-7. (Oct.)

Copyright 2011 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 4--With a seagull watching, a young brown-skinned girl in a bathing suit builds a sandcastle with several round turrets. After she leaves at dusk, the tide comes in, a tower light illumines, and tiny inhabitants, perhaps three generations of a family, appear in a window and escape into the sea as the castle crumbles. The watercolors are so deeply and expertly layered that the art looks like oil, and rendered so accurately, it almost looks real. Children will be intrigued by the interconnections in this wordless fantasy about survival. A young boy is tossed from the boat, rides a sea horse, and is rescued by mermaids, and the small people moor in a cove after a tumultuous night at sea. One spread shows a close-up of the figures (shorter than starfish arms) unloading the cargo among tide-pool shells, seaweed, and sea urchins, and the next zooms out to show the seagull's nest on the rocks and one small person feeding a baby gull. Next morning the girl creates a second, imperfect castle built with an eye to the waves. Red skies harbor good tidings for this night's inhabitants. 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.--Sara Lissa Paulson, American Sign Language and English Lower School PS 347, New York City

Copyright 2011 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"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

Dennis Nolan

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.

Classification
Fiction
ISBN-13
9781596434707
Lexile Measure
N/A
Guided Reading Level
N/A
Publication date
October 20, 2011
Series
-

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