By Britta Teckentrup
Before I Wake Up
By Britta Teckentrup
Britta Teckentrup, a popular German author-illustrator, has published two beautiful picture books, “Oscar Loves” and “Before I Wake Up.”
“Oskar Loves” tells the reader all the things that a happy, little black bird named Oskar loves. It begins, “This is Oskar./Oskar loves the deep blue ocean.../...and the soft green grass.”
The story continues with what Oskar loves about spring and autumn, cherries and pebbles, and other things in nature, but includes books and pictures.
The illustrations are simple but colorful, and attractive. Oskar himself is expressive though he is made up of only a few geometric shapes.
The story ends by inviting the reader to consider, “What do you love?” This would be fun for the reader and a parent or teacher.
“Before I Wake Up” is the imaginative story of the girl narrator’s dreams. The rhyming text and detailed dark pictures take the reader on a journey with the girl and her stuffed lion friend who has become a real lion.
Together the girl and her lion fly on a bed that is being lifted like a hot air balloon by the moon. They fly over the seas and through storms, but she isn’t afraid because her lion protects her.
The girl swims with whales, rides on her lion’s back through a wood, and meets friendly wild creatures. She plays with her lion and feels brave with him near.
Finally, when night fades, the girl and her lion run out of the wood to a light meadow. The girl tells her lion friend goodbye and gets back on the hot air balloon bed to return home.
The illustrations are the strongest part of this story. They are beautiful and dreamlike, and full of small details to find.
The words sometimes sound a bit forced to make the rhymes. “In the blue meadow, I’m joined by my friend./We travel together in our world without end.” Or the rhymes are only near rhymes, such as “Together we fly/with arms stretched out wide/over the seas/and leave our worries behind.”
Once the A-B-C-B rhyme scheme is broken with an A-B-C-C pattern, “We feel the wind./We hear the sea./We sing our song./Together we’re strong.”
Nevertheless, I recommend the book for its beautiful, dreamlike pictures. Youngsters would enjoy following the characters through their adventure. It may also help them not to be afraid of their dreams.
About the Author/Illustrator
Britta Teckentrup is the author and illustrator of many beloved books for children, including The Memory Tree, The Odd One Out, and Grumpy Cat. Her artwork has been displayed in galleries around the world. She lives and works in Berlin, Germany, with her husband and young son.