"In a very sensitive and gentle way, this book invites the reader to experience the journey of a child coping with grief after the death of a sibling.
On the night before Liam's birthday he experiences a dream connection with his sister, Cassie as she arrives in her boat the Sky Dreamer, floating just outside his window above a silver ghost gum. Cassie welcomes her brother aboard and off they sail into many adventures while Cassie sews her brother a birthday present. As they journey through the sky, Cassie encourages Liam to learn to sail the Sky Dreamer by himself through the many hazards of thunder, lightning, meteorites, past distant planets and comets. Gradually he gains confidence to steer on his own and all the while his sister sews his birthday present. As daylight appears, Liam leaves the Sky Dreamer with his special birthday present, which will brighten his life.
Liam's journey with Cassie in the Sky Dreamer is a beautiful analogy of a child's journey through the grey times of the grief to very gradually learning to live without a sibling and once again experience the sunny, happy times. The dreamlike quality and changing colours of the beautiful illustrations reflect the emotions that Liam experiences as he learns to steer the Sky Dreamer. His stark, grey world of grief is mirrored in the grey tones of the background as he stares at the cloud formations in the sky. This contrasts with the changing colours in illustrations throughout the narrative, ending with the sunny colours of the final illustration.
This beautiful book very gently explores the process of loss and healing and would be very comforting to share with a child going through this process."
– Margaret Warner, Buzz Words
"When they finally make their way home, Cassie leaves him again. But now, Liam has navigated his way through his loss and grief, and has his gift of her love to help him find warmth and happiness in his life.
This is a wonderful book for children dealing with grief, from a talented Tasmanian author."
– Dani Colvin, Sunday Tasmanian
"Liam is grieving over the death of sister Cassie and the world seems grey. One night Cassie calls him to come with her in a boat called The Sky Dreamer. As they float through space, Cassie sits sewing while Liam struggles with his fears as they are battered by storms and meteorites. Finally Liam plucks up courage to take the wheel and steer the boat himself. After galactic adventures, they arrive home, where Cassie gives Liam the special gift she has been sewing. While the story is rather flat the illustrations are the major appeal of this book. From the depressing greys, which initially echo Liam’s mood, we move swiftly to a beautiful varied palette of rainbow colors in mixed media (paint, crayon, Hessian prints) as the artist engages from the enchanting cover and endpapers through the dreamlike journey across the universe. Despite the beauty of the illustrations, however, it is a little difficult to predict the readership, as adult guidance is probably needed for a child to get the full emotional impact of the story."
– CM, Reading Time
"This is a most sensitive, alluring book about a child dealing with death. Written following the death of the author's daughter, it acknowledges that grief is a long journey which may be shared but which is travelled alone. It can be stormy and seemingly endless but there is eventually acceptance and comfort and a way forward.
The beautiful, delicate pictures mirror the mood of the story perfectly - monochrome in Liam's dark days, and the introduction of colour when Cassie appears in the Sky Dreamer hints at a glimmer of hope and happiness. The chaos and colour of the storms reflect Liam's thinking and feelings, but as they merge into gentler colours and less frenetic images the reader gets a sense of growing peace and calm.
Too often our students travel their own version of Luke's journey - this is a book that might help them navigate it more easily, showing them that whatever feelings they have are OK and that they are not alone. That, in itself, might offer comfort."
- Barbara Braxton, Teacher Librarian, 500 Hats and The Bottom Shelf Educational Blog
"Fortuitously and for me well-timed, our own Anne Morgan [has] a French language version of her book The Sky Dreamer. The French title is Le bateau de reves, or 'The Boat of Dreams', and I have enjoyed reading Anne's wonderful picture book all over again, this time in a different language."
- Penny Garnsworthy, Children's Book Council of Australia Tasmania Blog
"The Sky Dreamer is one of those special stories designed to reach a specific audience: in this case siblings of children who have passed away.
The Sky Dreamer tells of a sad little boy called Liam. Having lost his sister recently to a terminal illness, he is struggling to cope with the grief and focus on the present, even with his birthday imminent. Feeling lost and lonely, Liam’s imagination takes him away on a voyage in a beautiful ship adorned with rainbow sails, with his precious sister Cassie. The journey takes Liam out of his comfort zone. It shows him beauty and colour, fear, how to be strong, and the lessons he needs to learn so that he can cope. Cassie’s gift to Liam is comfort and love.
Dr. Anne Morgan has explored an important topic for anyone affected by the grief of losing a loved one; for children in particular it is so much more confusing and hard to understand. She has used her own personal experience to create this sensitive and touching tale to be shared.
A must for children experiencing grief."
– Angela Hall, Bug in a Book
"The Sky Dreamer is a touching children’s picture book written by Anne Morgan and illustrated by Celine Eimann. It was published by IP Kidz in 2011.
When Liam’s sister dies, his world turns grey. He spends hours watching clouds crossing the wintry skies, hoping that Cassie is out there somewhere. The night before Liam’s birthday, Cassie sails the Sky Dreamer to their home and invites Liam to climb aboard. Together they sail through the sky while Cassie sews Liam’s birthday present.
But just like in real life - it’s not always smooth sailing.
Along the way there are thunderclouds, lightning, and a storm of meteorites. "Help me, please!" Liam begs. But Cassie keeps sewing. Cassie is only there to guide him, it’s up to Liam to steer himself out of the grim, grey fog and take control of his life.
The Sky Dreamer is one those books where the author and illustrator have done an extraordinary job approaching a difficult subject like death. Even though it is ultimately about the death, I believe it encourages children to explore their emotions in many situations where they may be grieving or need to be strong and independent when they’d rather run and hide.
Eimann’s whimsical illustrations are a mixture of soft pencil and swirls of pastel paint. The pages start completely grey and grow to splashes of dreamy colour.
At the end, Cassie leaves Liam with a precious rainbow cloak that she has sewn to keep him warm, safe, and to brighten his life.
The Sky Dreamer is a comforting children’s picture book that allows children to recognise their emotions and take control of their life after the death of a loved one, just as Liam has done."
– Renee Taprell, The Book Chook
"Liam is struggling to come to terms with the death of his sister, Cassie. On the day before his birthday, late at night, he sees Cassie sailing a boat through the sky, ‘The Sky Dreamer’. While Cassie sews a birthday present, Liam must learn to sail the sky by himself – a touching metaphor for facing life without her.
When Cassie leaves, and Liam wakes in bed, he has his special birthday gift to help him feel warm and safe.
The Sky Dreamer is a story written to help children cope with grief.
Dr Anne Morgan writes heartfelt words from her own experience and Celine Eimann’s soft pastel images add a sense of comfort."
- Sandy Fussell, The Reading Stack