Puma dreams

Tony Johnston, 1942-

Book - 2019

A young girl yearns to see an elusive puma in the wild, knowing that their numbers are dwindling and that what her Gram calls a "long-dream" may never come true.

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Picture books
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers [2019]
First edition
Item Description
"A Paula Wiseman Book."
Physical Description
pages cm
Main Author
Tony Johnston, 1942- (author)
Other Authors
Jim LaMarche (illustrator)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Among the hills where she lives with her grandmother, a young girl has always wanted to see a puma, but, as Gram explains, because of their being hunted or displaced by humans, they're rare. However, having heard stories of sightings, the girl's hopeful. She even sets out a salt lick—"I imagine that big cat / slipping through our wheat field / on whisper-feet"—which only attracts other wildlife. Still, she remains vigilant through seasons, until, finally, she spies a puma in the grasses around the salt lick. Though fleeting, the experience inspires her in multiple ways. The girl's eloquent, poetic narrative is reflected in LaMarche's evocative, richly hued, realistic illustrations, softly rendered in acrylics, pencil, and ink, which make equally great work of landscapes, mountain vistas, and close-up portraits of the determined narrator. The lyrical lines and warm scenes combine harmoniously to tell a lovely story that highlights the natural world, while also conveying the resonant power of aspirations. An appended author's note includes puma facts, Johnston's personal puma experiences that inspired the story, and information about some conservation organizations. Grades 1-3. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

The girl who narrates this wistful idyll by Johnston (Loving Hands) lives with her grandmother amid rolling grassland. She has long dark hair and a starry-eyed expression, and she dreams of seeing a puma one day. (Her Gram calls it a "long-dream, for it may not ever happen.") The puma population is dwindling, the girl knows: "Some are hunted down./ Some are forced from the land/ when people move in." She sinks her allowance into a salt lick; it lures other animals, but not the one she wants to see. The wisdom of her grandmother ("Easy dreams aren't worth a pin or a pickle") helps sustain her as she gets a lesson in patient waiting. Johnston's deliberately paced story foregrounds the sense of time that comes from living in the natural world, where things can take years, not minutes. Each softly tinted, naturalistic spread by LaMarche (A Story for Bear) captures a scene of rare beauty: a misty morning, a snowy dawn. While the text treats habitat loss and extinction, it focuses, too, on the simple joy of encountering an animal in the wild, where it is meant to be. Ages 4–8. (Oct.) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

K-Gr 3— A farm girl dreams of seeing a puma in the wild. Her gram tells her that this is a "long-dream," since pumas are elusive and their population is dwindling. The girl is determined and makes a plan. She invests her allowance in a salt lick. Months go by; the girl goes about her daily life and waits. Her patience pays off when she finally sees a puma licking her salt lick. The girl thinks he looks like a great golden ghost and she is inspired to pursue a new dream—to preserve and protect wild puma populations. Printed in landscape format, the realistic illustrations of a farmhouse and outdoor vistas are created with a combination of acrylic, pencil, and ink with frame-worthy skill. A soft and natural color palette places readers through the seasons gazing along the long horizon. Gently poetic first-person prose emphasizes the quiet beauty in the every day. An endnote contains information about pumas and a list of organizations dedicated to puma initiatives. VERDICT Budding nature lovers will enjoy this quiet, beautifully illustrated book with a strong conservation message.—Mindy Hiatt, Salt Lake County Library Services Copyright 2019 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A young girl yearns to see an elusive puma in the wild, knowing that their numbers are dwindling and that what her Gram calls a "long-dream" may never come true.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Longing to spot an elusive wild puma while visiting her grandmother in California, a young girl struggles with impatience before becoming inspired to protect the threatened species. Illustrated by the creator of The Raft. 15,000 first printing. Simultaneous eBook. Illustrations.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

'A lovely, beautifully illustrated story of a child's dream fulfilled.' 'Kirkus Reviews'Beautifully illustrated with a strong conservation message.' 'School Library Journal'A lyrical panoramic beauty of a book.' 'BookPageFrom award-winning duo Tony Johnston and Jim LaMarche comes a stunning, lyrical picture book about a girl's desire to see an elusive California puma in the wild that includes interesting facts about this beautiful and threatened animal.A girl visiting her grandmother longs for a glimpse of the solitary and rarely seen puma. Her grandmother tells her that if she's patient, one day her wish will come true. But patience is hard, the girl thinks. So, the girl and her grandmother stand watch each day, and then finally, without warning, she sees the beautiful animal from afar. Knowing she may never see a puma again, she now knows it's everyone's responsibility to protect these increasingly threatened animals.