Willy the Dreamer by Anthony Browne

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Anthony Browne’s 1997 picturebook Willy the Dreamer combines minimal text with vivid illustrations in a book appropriate for all ages.

In one of many picturebooks centering around Willy, Browne’s impressive style is visually stimulating, giving an attentive viewer many small embellishments and surreal illustrations to pour over. Each page of Browne’s book illustrates a different dream Willy has. Mostly they are good: “Sometimes Willy dreams that he’s a painter, or an explorer, or a famous writer, or a scuba-diver… Willy dreams.” Occasionally Willy has bad dreams. This simple formula makes the book appropriate for very young children.

What’s notable about Browne’s work is that each dream is depicted in a different style, often borrowing from literature or artists – delivered with Browne’s own unique methods, of course – to give each dream a singularly distinctive quality.

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Browne’s books make wonderful presents and yes, you can (and should) give yourself gifts once in awhile.

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