Willy the dreamer by Anthony Browne

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Walker Books, 2008. ISBN 9781406313574
(All ages) Highly recommended. A reprint of the wonderful Willy the dreamer is a treat for all. Willy the chimp dreams of being a film star or a singer, a sumo wrestler or a ballet dancer. Willy dreams.
Browne has produced a book that goes beyond the ordinary. He gives his dreamer a beautiful background of surreal paintings by such famous artists as Magritte, Van Gogh and Dali and a fabulous ape version of Alice in Wonderland. At the same time he has hidden a banana in each illustration and young readers will thoroughly enjoy going through the book and finding just what Browne has done with the banana. The illustrations are humourous and all of the characters have fabulous expressions on their faces - from the poignant sad face of a beggar, to the smug complacent expression of a king.
This is a picture book that can just be enjoyed for its lovely illustrations and whimsical story. However it is also a book that calls to be examined closely; for the reader to find out about the real art that forms a background to the story and thus enjoy the humour even more. Perhaps they could make up fantasies and dreams of their own.
Pat Pledger