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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soft to the touch
Lois Lowry is my comfort blanket. When you pick up a Lois Lowry book (and it really doesn't matter if it was "Anastasia Krupnik" or the book I will discuss with you now) you are blessed with the knowledge that this book will fufill the following requirements: It will be good. It will be interesting. It will be wholly original. Lowry has never tapped into our...
Published on May 1, 2006 by E. R. Bird

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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Confused about what age group this was supposed to target
At first, the book tells a light hearted tale about a creature trying to learn what her new talents are while bugging the heck out of her mentor. She's inquisitive, thinks outside the box and playful. She's the cute little creature that helps create the stuff of our dreams. It was so beautifully rendered, that I found myself believing that this is how our dreams (and...
Published on April 15, 2012 by IcyH


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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soft to the touch, May 1, 2006
This review is from: Gossamer (Hardcover)
Lois Lowry is my comfort blanket. When you pick up a Lois Lowry book (and it really doesn't matter if it was "Anastasia Krupnik" or the book I will discuss with you now) you are blessed with the knowledge that this book will fufill the following requirements: It will be good. It will be interesting. It will be wholly original. Lowry has never tapped into our subconscious oddities quite like other authors (like Diana Wynne Jones) have. She doesn't need to. Her books are perfectly thought out little worlds. If you are lucky, they may have some fantastical elements to them, but rather than stand out from the text these elements are as natural as can be. Lowry makes you believe in a kind of real-world magic. And no book better illustrates that idea than the remarkable little, "Gossamer". A comfortable amalgamation of the fantastical and the all-too real, it's one of those rare stories that can claim to have both grit and charm.

An old woman lives with her dog, all by herself, in a two-story house. Unbeknownst to her, she is visited nightly (as are we all) by creatures that make us their business. In this particular case, two such creatures have visited the old woman. One is an old hand at the work they are going to do. The other is known simply as Littlest One. She is sprightly and curious and filled to brimming with questions. By night, these creatures gather the memories they find attached to objects around the home and create dreams out of them. These they bestow to the residents of the home. Only now, the old woman is taking in a foster child for a time. An angry eight-year-old boy with an abusive past and who's dark thoughts prove irresistible to the Sinisteeds. Sinisteeds are creatures that provoke dark nightmares in their dreamers, causing damage to their psyche and a whole lotta pain. Now Littlest must find a way to strengthen the boy who has attracted these creatures so that he can be strong enough to face up to his own ugly memories.

Of course, for all the fantastical dream-creature-like storylines, the real heart of this tale is in the story of the old woman, the boy, and the boy's mother. It's a very real tale too. The boy's mother has gotten out of an abusive relationship and is trying to piece her life together enough to take custody of her son again. And leave it Lowry to get me to tear up when the woman finally gets a good job in an elementary school. I don't tear up over children's books unless the writing is particularly phenomenal.

Good fantasy speaks beyond the magic and fantastical elements of any given tale. Because she has tied in a story of abuse to one of the healing power of dreams, Lowry's story plays out rather beautifully. No mention is made of the fact that, medically speaking, if a person does not dream they go insane. The proof is before your eyes instead. Lowry also takes a rather nice poke at those adults that live in homes that look like they've come out of a magazine (all chrome and glass) but haven't a single homey or personal object in the joint. Pity the poor dream creatures that have to deal with THOSE people.

Even when Lowry is off her game (some might make that argument with "Messenger"), she still has her finger firmly on the pulse of her plot, characters, and setting. There's a straightforward intelligence to her books that children and adults everywhere have come to trust. I don't suppose I could call, "Gossamer" her finest work, but it's a lovely example of the patient storytelling and excellent plotting that we've come to expect of her. It is undoubtedly one of the best books for children in 2006. A wonderful metaphorical tale.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So good it gave me goose-bumps, September 19, 2006
By 
B. Claypole White (Hillsborough, NC United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Gossamer (Hardcover)
My 11 year old son and I listened to Gossamer driving to and from school. But then we couldn't bear to leave the story behind, so spent the rest of the afternoon huddled around the tape deck. What an enchanting coming of age story. Yes, there is darkness and violence, but such feeling of hope. I cried through the last chapter. Wow. This is an incredible book. And beautifully read by Ms Twomey. I was especially drawn to the idea that so much can be experienced through touch. Seems to me it's the sense most writers underplay. And the writing is so simple, yet so powerful. I would give Gossamer more than 5 stars if I could.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some Violence as well, April 27, 2006
By 
Jeremy (Willowick, Ohio) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Gossamer (Hardcover)
I found this book to be very good, but John's nightmares of being abused by his father are somewhat graphic, and certainly not appropriate for all readers. He dreams of his father making him eat dog food and smearing his face in it as a 2 year old, and of his father repeatedly hitting his mother. I really liked the book, but one should be aware of its graphic content in places. Still, a very good read!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful tale of magic and dreams, May 31, 2006
By 
KidsReads (New York, NY) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Gossamer (Hardcover)
Without a doubt, Lois Lowry's books stand out when compared with some of the other fare on contemporary bookshelves --- and thankfully Lowry has been recognized for it. In 1990, she won her first Newbery Medal for NUMBER THE STARS, a fictionalized account based on the true story of how a group of Christians in Denmark saved their Jewish neighbors from persecution during World War II. She received her second Newbery Medal in 1994 for THE GIVER, probably her most well-known book to date. Now comes another book that is so beautifully written and so poignant in message that its sure-to-be glowing reception just might give new meaning to the expression "three time's the charm."

GOSSAMER tells the story of a group of mythical creatures (for lack of a better expression to describe them) who are responsible for the creation and distribution of dreams. After being assigned to various households by their leader, Most Ancient, the creatures settle into their roles as dreamweavers by acquainting themselves with objects in the house (photographs, articles of clothing, trinkets on a bureau) that contain significance and memories of the owners. After they have gathered enough meaningful fragments, the dream-givers combine them to create a story, or dream, to bestow onto the sleeping inhabitants. This process is, in fact, how dreams are born.

So, too, are nightmares created by the evil Hordes, who attempt to undo all the good that the dream-givers impart by banding together to flood their victims' subconscious with dark and stormy thoughts. If enough insidious nightmares are inflicted upon these sleeping individuals, their waking hours can become increasingly negative and damaging until they no longer can remember how to be happy and at peace. In this agitated state, they are a great risk to those around them and to society as a whole.

In addition to providing a unique and imaginative explanation as to where dreams and nightmares come from, GOSSAMER also tells the moving story of an angry boy and a lonely old woman who are brought together under unfortunate circumstances. The boy has been taken away from his parents because his father beats him and his mother, and the woman is lonely because her husband died, leaving her alone and without many friends. As a way to find companionship and to give back to the world, the old woman agrees to take the little boy in for a summer until his mother can get back on her feet. The bond that forms between the two is so subtle yet so ripe with feeling that by the book's conclusion, you wonder how the two ever could have been apart.

Lowry's latest offering is simply magical. It is clear that she has taken great care to write a narrative that will both teach and touch its readers. A book full of gentle spirit and pure beauty, GOSSAMER is definitely award-winning material.

--- Reviewed by Alexis Burling
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting, July 12, 2006
This review is from: Gossamer (Hardcover)
This was my first Lois Lowry book. I read it in one evening. Once I started it, I couldn't put it down. She is an amazing author and this story was like, to me, a fairy tale I wish could come true. As someone who suffers wtih nightmares regularly, from past traumas, I found myself so absorbed in the book and related to it so much. As someone else said, it was difficult to learn of the little boys past abuse, but this story found a way to overcome that and take us all to a hopeful and happy place. A few days later I read The Giver. Lowry is truly an amazing author and has a wonderful imagination that is so easy to relate to. I can't wait to read more of her books.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Her Own Gossamer Touch, April 30, 2006
This review is from: Gossamer (Hardcover)
Once again Lowry uses her gentle touch on a story. As in The Giver, she impresses upons us the importance of memories, both good and bad, and the rewards of being brave enough to make a change. Watching Littlest One grow into something a little more solid, and watching John and his mother work at becoming a family more solid, and the Old Woman and Toby being so generous in their giving, is like watching the sun rise. Miraculous and wonderous and oh so hopeful. Lowry makes believers out of us all,but then, isn't that what a storyteller is suppose to do?

This is an excellent read. Be careful with younger readers as the sad memories are just that, sad, and somewhat graphic. But the message is loud and clear. Compassion and Courage and Peace.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Confused about what age group this was supposed to target, April 15, 2012
By 
IcyH (Georgia, US) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Gossamer (Kindle Edition)
At first, the book tells a light hearted tale about a creature trying to learn what her new talents are while bugging the heck out of her mentor. She's inquisitive, thinks outside the box and playful. She's the cute little creature that helps create the stuff of our dreams. It was so beautifully rendered, that I found myself believing that this is how our dreams (and nightmares) are truly created. But then, if you're a fan of Lois Lowry, you'll know she doesn't shy away from the tough topics- euthanasia, infanticide, discrimination because of physical "defects," immigration, and genocide. The second part of the story deals with a "troubled" boy and his unlikely friendship and healing from a retired schoolteacher. The troubled boy suffers from child abuse and not your garden variety, "My dad hits me."

Not that kids should be sheltered because certainly by the time children are 8, like the boy in the book, they've been exposed to swordfights, shootings, explosions, etc- and that's just in your standard fare PG-13 movie. But it's harder- or should be harder- to stomach child abuse at the hands of an adult. Most of the violence children experience in seeing a typical action-adventure movie involve adults like police officers, spies, mob bosses, FBI agents, pirates, etc. and who have accepted that violence or the risk of violence is a part of their chosen profession. But no child is deserving of abuse. Don't worry- the book ends well and doesn't leave a cliffhanger ending like so many of her books where you have to fill in the blanks.

The simplicity and brevity of the book could lend itself to being a read-a-long to younger children but the content can possibly disturb sensitive children. And for other children who are largely desensitized to violence, the reaction to an especially scary character in the book might lead some children to feel like that character should be dispatched with further violence. The hope is that this book will maybe encourage some lonely heart senior citizens to be a foster parent, or for a school aged child to maybe empathize with their schoolmate who seems weird, angry or a bully, or for an employee or employer to recognizes when their employee may need help for problems outside the job.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enchanting novel, July 4, 2006
This review is from: Gossamer (Hardcover)
I truly enjoyed every minute of this novel. As only Lois Lowry can, she creates a world that beckons you to enter with each word she writes. Her characters drive the action with such ease that when I reached the end of the book I wanted to know more. This would be a great way to encorporate new vocabulary with students. It would also make a wonderful read aloud. I would recommend this book to fifth and sixth graders.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars short and sweet, May 21, 2006
This review is from: Gossamer (Hardcover)
although i read this book in a day, i found it to be a very moving and excellent book. my daughter is a huge fan of louis lowry and the giver is her favorite book. but i think gossamer far exceeds the giver in excellence. it is a very enjoyable book with a message.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Story, April 18, 2006
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This review is from: Gossamer (Hardcover)
My 11 year old son finished this book in tears the other day, so I decided to give it a try. What a beautiful story...magical, emotional, simple but yet so rich. Truly a lovely book for any age.
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Gossamer
Gossamer by Lois Lowry (Paperback - January 8, 2008)
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