The Dreamer by Il Sung Na

The Dreamer by Il Sung Na
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Genre: Childrens, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (52 pages)
Age Recommendation: 3+
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Even pigs can learn to fly: Once, there was a pig who admired birds. But he could never join them. Or could he? Thus begins the journey of a pig with big dreams, and the perseverance to make them come true. He develops flight plans, builds experimental contraptions, and has far-flung adventures, but at the end of the day, his favorite thing to do is sit and watch for those he loves best: birds. Il Sung Na creates a world at once whimsical and aspirational, where anything is possible and, yes, even pigs can learn to fly.

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There was so much room for letting the reader’s imagination run wild in this tale. While the narrator supplied the basic details of why the pig wanted to fly and what steps he took to make that dream a reality, the audience was also given plenty of leeway to figure out how every decision he made was linked to the ones before and after it. I appreciated that.

The ending didn’t make a great deal of sense to me. In one scene, the plot was chugging along nicely. In the next, it abruptly stopped. That was a disappointing page to turn to after having such a nice buildup of expectation and emotion earlier on in the plot. As much as I enjoyed the freedom this story gave it’s audience to fill in all of the little details ourselves, the final scene really need need a more thorough explanation.

Failure is a normal part of trying to solve just about any sort of problem. The fact that so many of pig’s designs didn’t work was refreshing, and the only thing better than that was seeing how he reacted every time he had to go back to the drawing board and try something new. His perseverance was something to be admired. He never gave up trying no matter what happened to him or how many of his ideas turned out not to work that well after all.

The Dreamer should be read by and to people who have vivid imaginations.

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