Sjoerd Kuyper

Josje’s droom

Josje (Josie) lives in a port town together with a number of friendly animals of whom Cousin Donkey is her favourite. Her marriage with the soldier she has fallen in love with turns into a big party. But on the wedding night she has a nightmare: her soldier is picked up by ‘the Tar Men’ to go to war. He doesn’t return. Josie’s sorrow is great: ‘every word hurts’. She stuffs her sorrow into a big wardrobe, and that of the animals too: ‘Ironed flat, the little sorrow fitted onto the shelves in neat piles’ and the big sorrow hung ‘like heavy winter overcoats on the wardrobe’s hangers.’ At first it’s fine, that the sorrow is packed away, but afterwards they realize that you cannot be happy without sorrow, that it’s part of life. At the end of the book Josie wakes up in her sweetheart’s arms.

Despite its heavy themes Josie’s Dream is not a heavy book. It is prose but has the feel of a ballad about sorrow and consolation, and can be interpreted in different ways. It is written in clear language, poetic and melancholic but also sober and witty.

By Lieke van Duin

A flawless, poetic story in the classic fairy-tale tradition, which is moving because of all sorts of wonderful detail.


This lyrical fairytale is a powerful exploration of life, love, grief and death. This book is destined to become a classic.

Irish Guide to Children’s Books


Sjoerd Kuyper

Sjoerd Kuyper (b. 1952) made his writing debut in 1974 with a collection of poems for adults. He wrote various stories for television, among them Majesteit, Uw ontbijt (‘Your Breakfast, Sire’) and Het zakmes (‘The Pocket Knife’) which was also filmed and received fourteen awards, among them…

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Josje’s droom (1992). Kinder- en jeugdboeken, 60 pagina's.

Age: 9+



Wibautstraat 133
1097 DN Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 20 551 12 50

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