DESDEMONA’S DREAMS VOLUME 1: TO DREAM OF DANCING
(DESDEMONA’S DREAMS LLC)
The imagination of children is something everyone can appreciate. Whether it’s the untethered passion or the freedom to eat dirt without being judged, everyone can recount a time when all things were fresh and astounding. Desdemona’s Dreams is a fairytale of an 11 year-old girl who has the ability to bring the dream world into the real word. Desdemona fights to recapture her Dream of Dancing, in the form of a ballerina, from an evil Maestro who looks like a combination of Beethoven and Labyrinth-era David Bowie. Z.W. Mohr whimsically captures the imaginative possibilities of children uninhibited by the struggles of adulthood. Mohr’s use of both prose and poetry helps establish a change in tone as we follow Desdemona between the physical and dream worlds. Aaron Porter’s illustrations depict suspenseful collages of the menacing Maestro holding Desdemona’s ballerina by puppet strings. A vibrant use of color is present throughout the story; from Desdemona’s deep purple house to her teacher’s striking green eyes, Porter illustrates Desdemona’s travels through her dreams and back into the real world. Yes, this is a children’s story, but it is a coming-of-age tale about a little girl refusing to abandon her imagination to a gray, drab world. So if adulthood is bringing you down, pick up a copy and read it aloud to loved ones big and small. —Nathan Tucker
Volume 1 of the "Desdemona's Dreams" series, To Dream of Dancing has the lavish color illustrations of a picturebook, yet its story is fairly extensive and detailed (60 pages), and suitable for young readers who are just about ready for their first chapter books. Desdemona is a young girl who dreams of becoming a dancer, perhaps a graceful ballerina. But the world around her is filled with endless demands that seek to slowly bleed away the creativity and dreams of children like her. The Mad Maestro, a dream-world metaphor turned shockingly real, imprisons Desdemona's dream of dancing and makes a dire challenge - if Desemona cannot finish the Maestro's musical masterpiece in an hour, then she will lose her dream forever! A wondrous allegory about holding fast to great expectations, To Dream of Dancing is highly recommended.
Watch the author and illustrator be interviewed by Maria Muro on the New Orleans Living television show.