Author: Cynthia Rylant
Illustrator: Peter Catalanotto
Publisher: Orchard Books
Audience: Ages 10-13
Summary: Solomon Singer lives in a hotel room in New York City. He wishes that his home had a balcony, fireplace, porch swing, and picture window. Since he did not love where he lived, Solomon wandered the streets at night. One night he goes into a small restaurant called Westway Café which says on its sign that “all your dreams” come true there. Solomon begins to frequent the restaurant and is served by a waiter named Angel. Each night Solomon would order up a dream with his supper and slowly things in his life began to change. Solomon began to see the beauty of the world around him because he found a place he loved and does not feel alone anymore.
Literary elements at work in the story: The theme of this story is one that illustrates how a person can move from a sense of hopelessness and loneliness to a brighter place. The author’s words tell the reader how it is possible to find hope in the midst of what may seem to be unbearable circumstances. Having hope gives you the ability to see your circumstances, although they may remain the same, in a new light.
Perspective on gender/race/culture/economic ability: Although the author does not directly address the issue of economic ability, the reader could infer that Solomon Singer is not a wealthy man. He lives in a hotel which means that he rents the room. The first illustration shows a soup can and broken cup which may also indicate that he does not possess a lot of valuable things.
Scripture: Romans 5:4-5, Hebrews 11:1, 1 Peter 1:3
Theology: Character produces hope and hope does not disappoint us. To have faith is to have hope in that which cannot be seen. The resurrection of Jesus Christ has given us a living hope.
Faith Talk Questions:
- What can you learn about Solomon Singer from the first illustration in the story?
- Why do you think the author writes that it is important to love where you live?
- How did Solomon deal with his loneliness?
- How does going to the café change Solomon?
- Why did Solomon order dreams along with his food each night?
- Do you think there is any significance to the waiter being named Angel?
- What does hope look and feel like to you?
- What is one thing we could do in this community to give someone hope?
Review prepared by Union-PSCE alumna Marcia A. Rauch