Not Just A Dream by Carolyn Ramsey-Williams
Not Just A Dream is a children’s story about a fifth grader named Madison who is introduced to a new student named Lisa. Her teacher Ms. Feemster makes it Madison’s job to make sure that Lisa feels welcome at her new school. However, this proves to be a bit of a challenge for Madison, as Lisa seems even more shy and uncomfortable than most new students would be. We eventually learn that Lisa recently moved to the United States from Mexico. While Madison and Lisa come from different places, eventually the two young girls realize that they have a lot in common, and become fast friends.
While the ideas presented in the story are commendable, and the use of Spanish in a way that introduces new phrases and words to English speakers, the overall structure of the story is a bit confusing. While the title of the book makes it pretty clear that Madison both dreams of meeting Lisa, and also meets her in real life, the distinction between the two is not entirely clear. The addition of illustrations will likely make things more apparent, but the narrative could use a bit more streamlining so that young reader’s are not confused as to which parts of the book are reality, and which are dreams. Scenes quickly shift from the classroom, to the lunchroom, to Madison’s home, with little transition, creating a someone jarring effect. The over-arching ideas and themes needed to make a good children’s story are present here, they just need a bit more refining to truly make them shine.