Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Just a Dream

Van Allsburg, Chris (Author/Illustrator)
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2011. 48 pages
First published: 1990
ISBN: 9780547520261 (paperback)
9780544422834 (hardcover)
9780547528427 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, point of view, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Walter is a boy who couldn’t care less about the environment. He thinks recycling is a waste of time. Faced with two different scenarios of the future – one, a nightmarish, completely trashed world; the other, an idyllic, environmentally sound paradise – Walter realizes exactly what he has to do to make a difference.

The dream sequences representing the future are told through wordless, double-page spreads in heavy saturated colours, while smaller boxed-in pictures with accompanying text offer readers a sneak peek at what is about to be revealed. Distinctive colour palettes help children keep the dream and daylight sequences separate in their minds. Clear, concise language allows the reader to focus on understanding. “The air was filled with smoke that burned his throat and made his eyes itch.”

While the story might not be for very young children, it would make an excellent book for older readers about environmentalism and taking care of the planet. It also reinforces the important ideas that our actions today have an impact on tomorrow, and that every child can make a difference in the world.

  •  

    Discuss the illustrations and how they affect the story.

  •  

    In small groups, talk about consumerism and how the three Rs – reuse, reduce, recycle – can help the environment. Come up with three good ideas for doing this in school and share with the rest of the class.

  •  

    Write about how you would like to see our world in the future. Explain your reasoning.

  •  

    Browse through the illustrations and discuss them before reading the story.

  •  

    Discuss how you would feel about getting a tree for your birthday.

  •  

    Discuss consumerism and how the three Rs – reuse, reduce, recycle – can help the environment.

  • To cooperate with others
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To solve problems
  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Science and Technology