The Child of Dreams


The girl and her mother live happily together, laughing and singing, gathering ‘fruit from the trees and [digging] vegetables in the garden’. The girl is loved by her mother ‘stronger than the rocks on the mountain peak, softer than the petals of the meadow flowers, fuller than the harvest moon’.

Yet what if the girl is made aware that she does not have a father like the creatures about her. Could her mother’s explanation that she is The Child of Dreams, brought by the stork ‘as a gift’, satisfy her? Or might it be that the girl needs to seek further answers, beginning with the stork? What if this leads her to the squirrels, the salmon and thereafter the fox? Where might her questions lead? Could it be that being loved is enough? That having somewhere to go to and belong is a blessing? The girl hopes ‘there is someone out there who is thinking of you and wishing for you and dreaming of you‘…

Families are what we make them. The construction is broad, varied and flexible. Thereafter to be The Child of Dreams is a gift. Irena Brignull and Richard Jones have created a lyrical story of love and belonging, with glorious language, idyllic pictures, and a heartfelt message.

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The Child of Dreams

Irena Brignull and Richard Jones

(Walker Studio)

What happens if you were once The Child of Dreams whose life with your mother was joyous and wonderful until something changes? Could it be that watching the animals, seeing that each has a mother and father, might bring doubt? Furthermore, what if the answer to your questions was not enough?
It seems to build ‘dark and heavy’ thoughts into the mind of our young girl. The bliss of her life in the valley with her mother is spoiled. Might it be that following the stork that her mother said brought her, she will receive the answers she desires? Thereafter, what of the squirrels whom the stork says ‘trusted‘ her with the child ‘when she [was] a chick?‘ Is it possible their answer might satisfy? Perhaps their suggestion that ‘the salmon carried [her] up the river‘ to be cared for offers clues.
We track a journey of miracles through The Child of Dreams. Furthermore seems that at each stage, we realise how this mother was meant to be the mother of this girl, that they belong together, without question or explanation. Irena Brignull and Richard Jones are a beautiful writing and illustration partnership. There is fluency and discovery, empathy and mood in their words and pictures. We experience this through The Seed of Doubt, too.

This book reminds us of the bonds and strength of family, whatever their creation and core. It is a beautiful picture book, recommended to be read at bedtime, lovingly and knowingly.


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