Skip to main content

Arthur's Dream Boat written and illustrated by Polly Dunbar


There are a handful of illustrators, most of whom are also authors, who I find enchanting no matter what they do. Polly Dunbar is one of them. Emily Gravett and Sophie Blackall and Gillian Tyler are a few of the others who's work I love. If you aren't familiar with Dunbar's work, check out my review of her last book, Penguin for a full rundown of her other books and more examples of her fantastic illustrations.


Arthur's Dream Boat, inspired by a small boy in the water at Brighton Beach and a far boat on the horizon, is the story of a dream. Arthur wakes up one morning wanting to tell someone about the amazing dream he had the night before. When he first tells his dog, "Last night I had a dream," there is a small, colorful boat on top of his head. As Arthur goes through the morning trying to tell the busy members of his family about his dream, the boat keeps getting bigger and brighter and more elaborate as they neglect him. Finally, when he raises his voice as loud as he can, the family stops and takes notice. Then, Arthur tells them about his dream. The family finds themselves at sea with Arthur, sailing on his dream boat. The final words of the book, "One night Arthur had a dream. And it really was . . . amazing!" are paired with the happy family, pets and all, cozy in the dream boat, sailing off into the setting sun. 


Dunbar's book may seem light on text, but it is huge on imagery and imagination. Her illustrations, done in charcoal and watercolors, are full of movement and concentrated bursts of color that help tell the story. I can definitely see Arthur's Dream Boat being the kind of book that will stick in a child's mind well into adulthood and stir up fond memories decades later. I can't wait to see what Polly Dunbar does next!

Here are the lovely endpapers from Arthur's Dream Boat.





ARTHUR’S DREAMBOAT. Copyright © 2012 by Polly Dunbar. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA on behalf of Walker Books, London.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!

Be…

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers remains the most read post on my blog since I wrote it in 2012. Because of this, I have cleaned up this post, tightened the writing and added in any pertinent information that has come about since it originally ran. When I first started books4yourkids.com in August of 2008, I was scrambling for content, finding my purpose and my voice and not always doing my best writing. How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers was one of the first articles I wrote and, as a bookseller and a book reviewer, and now as an elementary school librarian where I have gone from working with kids reading well beyond their grade level to kids reading well below, this philosophy remains my organizing principle and central focus when reading and recommending books to parents and children. 

In the interest of my mission and the attention this article continues to receive, I have updated and expanded this article and included a guide to using …