Booklist Reviews

Ages 3^-8. "One day children got tired of having to do what their parents told them." This first line has elemental appeal, and the pictures show kids across the world hugging their teddy bears and dreaming that they can do whatever they want. When animals, wild and domesticated, get to live the same dream, the chaos is glorious, especially in Pinkney's double-page spreads of elephants, rhinos ("rhinossyhorses"), dogs, giraffes, and other creatures wreaking mayhem and acting like people, even dressing up for fancy restaurants. The pictures here are like Pinkney's illustrations for Sam and the Tigers (1996), but with more animals. The fantasy is elaborate and it's orchestrated by two guardian characters in Africa: Albidaro, who can hear the thoughts of teddy bears and see the dreams of children, and his sister, the Guardian of Animals. The guardians seem patched onto the story, and the kids' protective teddy bears are too cute and cloying. The fun here is the wild dream of rebellion, the cacophony of animals silly enough to act like people, and the satisfying return to order. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

Horn Book Guide Reviews

In this convoluted and unbelievable tale, teddy bears send their owners a dream, which makes the children believe that they don't have to obey their parents. With the help of Albidaro, the Guardian of Children, the dream spreads to all the children and animals of the world, and chaos ensues in the morning. Pinkney's artwork is as lively and attractive as ever, but it doesn't rescue the poorly written story. Copyright 2001 Horn Book Guide Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Lester's original fable is clever, but ultimately disappointing. All the kids in the world are tired of doing as they're told, so their teddy bears send them a dream telling them to say "no" to their folks. High on his mountain, Albidaro, the Guardian ofChildren, hears the dream. To play a trick on his sister (Olara, the Guardian of Animals) he tells the dream to visit all the animals too. Pandemonium ensues. Though it allows for some funny scenarios ("Olara swooped down. ‘What do you think you're doing?' . . . ‘Trying to make this par three, if you'll be quiet,' one monkey replied"), Lester takes a long time to set it up, and the story ultimately feels ungrounded, as it is difficult to identify the symbolism or message. Lester's language is intricate and often lovely, but tends toward the sentimental here. He uses "sweet," "flower," "teddy bears," "dream," "happy," "butterfly," and "heart" all in one sentence. The terms "hippopatamussesessssss" and "rhinossyhorses" feel out of place, as the rest of thelanguage is very straightforward. Pinkney's mixed-media illustrations are colorful, spirited, and as gorgeous as anything he's ever done, but fail to save this story. (Picture book. 5-8) Copyright 2000 Kirkus Reviews

Publishers Weekly Reviews

In this offering from a talented duo (Black Cowboy, Wild Horses), teddy bears inadvertently set off a chain reaction when they slip to their young owners a dream promising that they can do whatever they want, whenever they want, without punishment. Albidaro (the mythical "Guardian of Children" who lives in the sky) then uses the dream to get even with his snooty sister Olara ("Guardian of Animals") by planting it in the minds of the animals. The next morning, children balk at their parents' requests while animals shed their leashes and flee their cages and homelands to wear pajamas, eat popcorn on the couch and surf the Internet. Ironically, the animals on the loose turn the youngsters into responsible parent figures, and total freedom makes everyone unhappy. In the end Albidaro and Olara restore order. Pinkney's fluid illustrations exude bedtime magic, and he wisely balances the outlandish scenario with realistic renderings of the animals as they engage in merry mayhem. The fable itself fares less well, however. Though shot through with humor, it stumbles by straining too hard to be silly (listing "hippopotamussesessssss" and "rhinossyhorses" among an otherwise normal lineup of animal names, for instance) and serving up such gushing descriptions as "happy as a butterfly's heart." Ages 4-8. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

School Library Journal Reviews

K-Gr 2-This modern fable lacks a tautly told story and relies on the whimsy of a made-up yarn that tangles into an odd moral. When children become tired of doing what parents tell them, their teddy bears give them a mischievous dream that tells them they can do whatever they want. High in the mountains of Africa, Albidaro, the Guardian of Children, is delighted that his children will have some fun. To add to the excitement, he ignores the warnings of the teddy bears and plays a trick on his sister, Olara, the Guardian of Animals, by having the dream visit all the animals of the world so they can also do as they please. When day dawns, children refuse to get out of bed and wild animals behave like humans, taking showers and Rollerblading. When order is restored, Albidaro puts all the people into a deep sleep and no one remembers what happened, except the teddy bears. Olara threatens to turn them into brussels sprouts if they tell. To this day, that's why teddy bears look like they have a secret. Sweeping double spreads dramatically portray Albidaro and Olara, framed panels capture the rebellious children's reactions, and beautifully illustrated animals create colorful and well-designed artwork typical of Pinkney. Tone, flow, logic, and premise seem disjointed but fans of the usually magical Lester/Pinkney team will be drawn to the large format with appealing illustrations.-Julie Cummins, New York Public Library Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.