Nocturne: Dream Recipes – Isol (2012, Groundwood Books, Toronto)
I found this curious little black book (complete with built in cardboard stand) in the children’s section of the library I work in. Created by Argentine author and illustrator Isol, Nocturne has black pages with whimsical glow-in-the-dark drawings. Each page contains a “dream recipe” and the idea is that you pick a page you want to dream about, charge it up in sunlight during the day, and then set the book on the nightstand when you fall asleep to “inspire” your nocturnal wanderings. Cute, right? Uh, maybe not so much…the first page I opened to contained “the dream of the dead singer,” complete with a drawing of a woman weeping and a gentleman smoking a cigarette as they gaze into the coffin containing the grinning body. The second one I turned to was “the dream of the door that should not be opened.” Now, if you were a child – or even an adult – with the kind of imagination I have, this one would ensure that you didn’t sleep for weeks.
They’re not all macabre like that, though – there’s “the dream of the cat who smelled the tuna casserole” and “the cozy, warm dream” and “the dream of going far away,” which is the one I set up to try one night. (I didn’t dream that night…not anything that I can recall, anyway).
While I’m thinking this book is a little too scary for (some) kids – and me! – I can suggest another excellent use for it: if you’re a writer, you could treat it like a series of writing prompts for those days when you’re a little stuck. Could be fun!