Dream Friends

You Byun, Author, You Byun, Illustrator
You Byun. Penguin/Paulsen, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-25739-1
Reviewed on: 12/03/2012
Release date: 02/21/2013
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Byun’s debut establishes this young artist as a remarkably polished talent. Her illustrations are the book’s raison d’être; the story is just substantial enough to hang it on. Melody has a marvelous dream friend, a huge white cat who “surprised her with lovely things” like a hat full of stars, and plays hide-and-seek with her in a place that’s half bedroom, half forest. Melody is lonely in her new home, though; she wants (and finds) a real friend, and she doesn’t have to give up her dream friend to do it. Printed on matte paper, Byun’s warm, grainy spreads have the look of lino prints, and her detailed drawing creates an atmosphere of visual abundance. Scenes of Melody’s daytime life are worked in a palette of friendly grade-school paint-box shades, while the dream sequences are drenched in saturated tangerines, lavenders, and blues. Combined with an instinctive knowledge of objects that please children (swing sets, cupcakes, spiral staircases, ladybugs), Byun has created a diminutive paradise, a bedtime destination that children will want to visit again and again. Ages 3–5. Agent: Rubin Pfeffer, East West Literary Agency. (Feb.)
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