The Window of Dreams: New Canadian Writing for Children
Priscilla Galloway was an English consultant in Willowdale, Ontario.
The Window of Dreams is an anthology of 30 stories and poems for children selected from over six hundred submissions. All are new; most appear in print for the first time. The three editors live in Kingston, Ontario, but the authors come from all parts of Canada — the Yukon to the Maritimes. Some are well known, such as Dennis Lee, Monica Hughes, and James Reaney; others are relative newcomers.
There is a range from simple to more complex stories and poems which would in general be enjoyed by children from ages 5 to 12. Numerous black-and-white illustrations add visual delight.
The emphasis is on fantasy and imaginative pieces rather than realistic fiction. Eileen Kernahan’s “The Sorcerer’s Child” is the story of L’al’s venture with her pet dragon into the amazing world of outside; Monica Hughes’s “Chris and Sandy” also depicts a desolate outside world, but one where Chris can learn to venture; in Jan Truss’s “The Day of the Cantaloupes,” pollution is banished from the city; in Sylvia Boorman’s “The Great Illusion,” Jason the magician learns how to make his little sister vanish; and in Muriel MacLean’s “The Adventures of Gran’ma Jane,” Gran’ma and children ride a magical bed through time and space back to Gran’ma’s childhood and her chance to win a skating race. Fantasy meets realism in Meguido Zola’s “When the Sultan Came to Tea,” a Zanzibar story in the form of a young artist’s summer diary. Susan Robinson’s “Mysteries,” one of the very few realistic stories, is set in 1946 New Brunswick, and James Reaney’s “At the Bigfoot Carwash” places an absent-minded father and five children in Sasquatch country, en route from British Columbia back east. The poetry is less successful than the prose, although no doubt children will chant with delight the chorus of Dennis Lee’s “Three Little Nippers.”
This strong and varied collection is an investment in excellent Canadian writing for young people; it will provide hours of delight for readers of all ages.