Adapted from the Italian original, this picture book imagines a mythical world in which animals’ nightmares take literal form, yet the scariest place of all is the dreamless Island of Shadows, the domain of extinct creatures.
In a somber manner that is a tonal shift for Calì, he explores the nightmare that is extinction.“In the forest with no name, between the river of wishes and the cascade of time, there’s an understory of sweet and scary dreams.” Riding on the back of his faithful companion, Dingo, Dr. Wallaby hunts down his Australian animal patients’ nightmares. But a Tasmanian tiger’s “hollow” dreams perplex Dr. Wallaby until he finally realizes that the tiger is “dreamless,” which means that it is extinct. Palmarucci’s illustrations, which have the stiff formality and finely detailed lines of early scientific sketches of flora and fauna, echo the old-fashioned language and style of the text, translated from Italian ... The tiger is shown being rowed to the Island of Shadows by a figure all in white. The yellow rocks and almost-black foliage on the bleak island make the grayed-out inhabitants—“the souls of animals, which are no more”—stand out ...(labeled images of critically endangered species, works cited and inspirations) (Picture book. 10-14)