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The Dreamer (Ala Notable Children's Books. Older Readers) Hardcover – April 1, 2010
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From School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Top Customer Reviews
The main character dreamily ponders the world while cowering from his domineering father. However, Neftali's beholding of nature, his sense of wonder and his limitless imagination cannot be bound. He persists in his dream-like approach to the world. INSPIRE YOUR DREAMY CHILD -- This book will inspire young readers, future poets and all right-brain people. It's courageous, unusual and unique.
My lack of enthusiasm for the book is directly related to my having lived in Chile for six years and being married to a Chilean. Chile is an interesting land of contrasts. The literacy rate is high and the interest in politics and current events is also very high. However many, not all, Chileans consider reading "anti-social", something I was chided for regularly. Unlike in the book, there was no library at a seaside town. I never found a public library in the whole country, although, I heard vaguely that there was one in the capital. A magazine/book store would be more likely. My point is that there were many cultural things that made the father who he was. He was not Dave Pelzer's mother. College entrance exams are very tough in Chile and peasants, at least fifteen years ago when I was there, were very real which tends to make fathers want better for their children. Families regularly took month vacations to the beach and the "sink or swim" swimming method made a champion swimmer out of my own husband. These aren't the best parenting techniques, of course, but I guess I would have been more comfortable if the father hadn't been a complete villain.
Also, although not as important, I wish there had been one last editing by someone from Chile. Parrots and Flamingos that far south? Potato empanadas? Meat and cheese empanadas are as common as hot dogs and hamburgers here, but I've never heard of potato ones.
All that aside though, the book is an enjoyable, magical read that teachers could certainly use as fodder for creative writing papers and/or poetry units.
Neftalí Reyes was born to a domineering father, who wants his sons to be strong, powerful men of industry. But Neftalí and his older brother, Rodolfo, are creative souls more interested in books and music than math and business. Neftalí is shy, stuttering and unsure of himself, and feels most at home surrounded by nature or the many interesting objects he collects, like shiny keys, feathers and beautiful stones. His head is full of stories, and he is entranced by the rhythmic sounds of the forests, rivers and jungles. Though his stepmother tries to protect him, Neftalí is subject to his father's mood swings, strict rules and cruelty. As he grows up, inspired by his uncle, a progressive journalist and activist on behalf of the native Mapuche, Neftalí finds his voice and strength in the written word --- first in political essays and finally in poetry.
Ryan's prose is a lovely and dreamy parallel to Neruda's lovely and dreamy verses, and she tells Neftalí's story with compassion and beauty. Though Neftalí struggles with familial and social expectations, he is steadfast in his identity as someone who needs creative expression, especially through words.Read more ›
Rocks my socks: True to its title, this book has a lovely lyrical, dream-like quality about it that is simply charming. It reflects the personality of Neftali perfectly and this mood is enhanced by lines of verse and surreal drawings appearing regularly throughout the text. My heart went out to little Neftali and I treasured the glimpse I got into the workings of his mind. This was made all the more interesting by the fact that the novel is loosely biographical.
Rocks in my socks: While I did enjoy the dream-like quality and I think it fit perfectly with the subject matter, it did make for a slow pace. I also didn't like the way Neftali's age accelerated so rapidly at the end of the book. For most of the book he's 7 or 8 and the pace and aging follows that of a normal narrative. Then, in the third to last chapter he jumps to 11, then he's 13 in the penultimate one, then in the last chapter he's getting ready to leave for college.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As an adult, and fan of Pablo Neruda, I really enjoyed The Dreamer. There are several magical interludes written by PMR that capture Neruda in interesting ways. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Teague Tubach
Beautifully written. I gave this to a 7th grade student who loves to read. She was beside herself with joy while reading this because she felt that she was communing with another... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Humbuzz
As adults, we tend to lose touch with our imagination. We get bogged down by our responsibilites, and our creative nature gets pushed to the backburner. Read morePublished on July 27, 2013 by Xango
This was a classroom purchase. I enjoyed the story and wanted my students to be able to read it. I have other books by the same author.Published on February 19, 2013 by Margie O'Brien
This was one of my most enjoyable reads of the year. Pam Munoz Ryan and Peter Sis have joined forces to create a most compelling and exquisite fictional portrait of the young... Read morePublished on July 17, 2012 by Ben Rose
I should say that this book passed through my hands quickly and I did not have time to read it, but I skimmed it. Read morePublished on April 6, 2011 by Sarah Drye
I loved this book so much.
The poetry and art work interspersed with the story is moving and thought-provoking.
You'll fall in love with little "Neftali". Read more
I don't usually read much fiction, but this was recommended to me and I gave it a try. It's a nice enough story, well-crafted, a very typical... Read morePublished on February 20, 2011 by M. Heiss