Appelemando's Dreams

The Story

Appelemando's Dreams
From Leah Polacco

Appelemando is a little boy who loves to dream. A little boy who keeps a very unique secret with his friends… whenever Appelemando dreams, they can see his visions floating through the sky above their heads. Fascinated by the beautiful colors and the visions of his daydreams, Appelemando’s friends attempt to catch them on a piece of paper.
"It wasn’t long before they discovered that Appelemando’s dreams would stay on anything that was moist or damp. Mops drying over balcony rails. Laundry airing on clotheslines. Bottoms of fat, white ducks waddling up the street."
One day, as Appelemando’s dream is escaping his mind it begins to rain. The bright colors cover the walls of the village, angering the elders who do not believe the "paintings" are indeed, the little boy’s dreams. Sentenced to scrub the village walls, the children, upset and afraid, wander home. However, soon they discover they are lost. Hours pass and the children cannot find their way through the dark woods.
"You can help, Appelemando," Lark proclaims.
Appelemando’s friends encourage him to dream a dream "big and bright enough" to reach their families in the village. But alas, Appelemando, upset by the day’s events, can no longer dream…
In the story’s surprising but happy ending, the message of "the importance of dreams" is revealed. A book for children and adults alike, Appelemando’s Dreams teaches the reader not to let go of his dreams, unless it is for the world to see.


"The illustrations add a vibrant, colorful fairy tale atmosphere to the text. A book to reassure many a daydreamer."

-Children's Book Review Service

"The style of these pencil and watercolor drawings is exuberant and full of vitality. With its perfect melding of art and narration, it's a dream come true."

-School Library Journal (starred review)

"[Polacco's] on target as always."

-Publishers Weekly

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The Artwork

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Activity Ideas

Appelemando's Dreams Activity Ideas

1. Ask your students to share with the class what some of their dreams are. Do they dream of brightly colored birds and flowers like Appelemando, or do they dream of becoming a ballerina or about a favorite toy? Have your students then color, draw, or paint a picture of that dream. Have them paint with watercolors to illustrate the idea that Appelemando’s dreams stuck to anything that was wet or damp.

2. Cover a wall in your classroom with white paper, and have your students all paint or color with markers on the wall. Be ready to discuss how this activity is different than vandalism, and why the elders of Appelemando’s village were angry at first, when they saw their walls covered with his dreams (Remember: they thought his dreams were paint).

3. Have your students write fictitious stories about a situation where their characters were forced to use their imaginations, dreams, or creativity to solve a problem, seek help, find their way home, etc. (similar to the way Appelemando used his dreams as a way to seek help, when he and his friends were lost).

4. Encourage your students to discuss why dreams are important. This could be a fun writing assignment as well.

5. Another writing assignment or in-class discussion topic could be, “If you were Appelemando and those around you could actually see your dreams, what would you dream for them to see?” For example, if a child daydreams about becoming an astronaut, would he dream up images of the stars and planets for his friends to see? Would he keep that dream to himself?

6. Print off the Appelemando bookmarks offered online, and have your students write on the back, one thing they dream about becoming or accomplishing in their life. Laminate the bookmarks, and ask the children to hold onto them as a reminder of that dream. Ask your students to share with the class, why accomplishing that dream is important to them.

7. Print off the mini-poster offered online, and have your students write a letter on the back, thanking someone in their lives who has already helped them achieve a dream they once had (for example, a child may have dreamed about playing soccer and a coach gave him a spot on the team, or she might have dreamed about owning a book, a parent later gave to her). Roll up the poster, tie it with a ribbon, and have your students deliver it to that person.

8. Test your students’ knowledge of the book with the “Appelemando’s Dreams” quiz.

9. If you have online access, have the students each solve the puzzle. What images of Appelemando’s dreams appear?

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