Sea of Dreams
illustrated by Dennis Nolan
2011 (Roaring Brook Press)
Source: Orange County Public Library
In this wordless fantasy, a young girl is creating a sand castle. She leaves the castle at the end of the day, but as dusk nears its end, a light comes on in a turret. A tiny community of people leave the castle just as the tide comes rolling through. Encountering an enormous wave, a small child falls off the boat. Fortunately, mermaids come to the rescue and the child is returned to his boat. As dawn breaks, the people in the boat see an island, dominated by a large rock, in the distance. The group disembarks and finds shelter in a cave. Meanwhile, the young girl arrives back on her beach to create another castle.
With an inventive wordless book, there are a lot of possibilities to tie in writing. Sea of Dreams would allow a class to create a sentence for each page or to create a sequel book. Good wordless books also create plenty of opportunities for prediction. When I flip through the pages, it is too easy to think of David Wiesner's Flotsam. If you read ten reviews of this book, I bet at least half reference Flotsam in the review. Still, it would be interesting to read these books back to back and see how students compare the two. I would also ask students to discuss the title and guess why Dennis Nolan chose this title. Sea of Dreams is a wordless feast for young readers.