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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Great things can happen while we sleep. Why? Because that’s when the infinite power of the imagination takes over and worlds and even universes can be created. For the Slumbering Pearl, deep beneath the sea, this is what happens. While she sleeps, the Slumbering Pearl dreams of the universe and all that is in it and all the mysteries that are its nuances. The only problem is, the Slumbering Pearl suddenly doesn’t want to sleep. She’s actually afraid she’ll miss something really great if she falls asleep. Now, what could be greater than the universe and its mysteries that appear in her dreams when she is asleep? She struggles to stay awake, even though the creatures of the sea try to use all their various talents to lure her into slumberland. It is to no avail. That is until Slumbering Pearl closes her eyes for just a moment, and then…
Tyler Oliver’s picture book story, The Slumbering Pearl, is an exquisite analogy of a child’s resistance to sleep. It is true, as is the case with the Slumbering Pearl in this story, that the most powerful and significant events in life really do happen when one is asleep and the dreams take over. The power of the imagination outshines anything in reality. With beautiful illustrations, the author leads the reader through the Slumbering Pearl’s resistance to let sleep take over. The author introduces all kinds of sea creatures and creates an interesting, imaginative aura of what these creatures can do to help a youngster fall into slumberland. I think my favorite is: “The jellyfish makes a beautiful mobile with the help of the crab, the parrotfish, the lobster, and the turtle.” Creative collaboration at its best. But even the whale-song lullaby isn’t enough. So, how is this Slumbering Pearl going to sleep and dream the universe into existence? This book is educational, imaginative, and a gentle reminder that even the most brilliant minds need to sleep to dream the universe into existence. Beautifully told.