The saving grace for The Dreamer is at the very end. I liked the “full circle” of the pig “admiring the birds” at the start and finish. The in-between is what I am not crazy about. The theme of “keep trying” and “making mistakes” has been done. Many times. The only difference here is that the friends and neighbors of the pig help him. Usually the “keep trying” is seen as a solo act. And the pig listens to the other animals. That seemed like an odd, but welcomed, addition. The fact that the pig does not just “do” but “listens” adds to the actual dream-like state of the words.
Il Sung Na has created a classic feel to it but also has contemporary overtones. There also is what I call a European influence on the overall feel of story and text. I would also say the authors Korean background must play a part in the story and illustrations, too. There is a mix of a dream and reality. The whole book is very “floaty” and not “solid” to my ear. The theme of a “dreamer” comes out in all areas of the book.
The fact the pig is blue and not very traditional pig looking could be off-putting to the younger reader, the adult might also not like this unrealistic element. However, it fits the “dream theme” perfectly. The sparseness of some pages also adds to the dreaminess. This is a book you sit and read to a small group or a single child. It also could be a good gift for an adult.