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The Daydreamer Hardcover – September, 1994


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Harpercollins Childrens Books; 1st edition (September 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060244267
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060244262
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #417,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Most grown-ups think Peter Fortune is a difficult child because he is so quiet: they "knew that something was going on inside that head, but they couldn't hear it or see it or feel it. They couldn't tell Peter to stop it, because they didn't know what it was he was doing in there." Actually, he is involved in one of his great adventures: exchanging bodies with his ancient pet cat, battling a troop of dolls come to life, making his parents disappear with a vanishing cream or discovering what it is like to be an adult falling in love. Through his daydreams, Peter learns to see the world from numerous points of view. He is the only boy at school, for example, who can recognize the weaknesses of a bully and feel compassion for him. In his first book for children, McEwan ( The Comfort of Strangers ; The Child in Time ) dextrously presents a series of strange and wonderful metamorphoses. His vivid and poetic writing, celebrating the creative abilities of a gifted 10-year-old, reveals a profound understanding of childhood. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 8-up.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 4-7. What if our worst fears (or, perhaps, our dearest wishes) actually happened? Right here in the backyard. There's a nightmarish sense of the domestic transformed in these interconnected stories about a 10-year-old loner. When Peter is quiet, it's because he's having "the weirdest" adventures in his head. They're experiences that grow out of the clutter of the kitchen drawer or the bombardment at the breakfast table. He loves his parents, but they crowd him. What would happen if he used vanishing cream? How would it feel to swap bodies with a cat, with a baby, with a grown-up? To actually, viscerally, be those creatures and still have your 10-year-old consciousness? The episode about the defeat of a bully is unconvincing, and at the end, Peter is too articulate about being on the edge of adulthood. But British author McEwan (whose prizewinning adult novels have been filmed) writes simple, visual prose--comic, deadpan, and lyrical--that captures the physicalness of the wild fantasy. The uneasiness remains. Things are put back together, but the world is not exactly right. The illustrations were not seen in galley, but there could be no better expression of Peter's vision than the kind of surreal artwork Browne has used in such books as Changes (1990), where the mundane is suddenly mad. What if . . . ? Hazel Rochman

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Customer Reviews

This was over all a cute and interesting book to make you think and laugh.
Rachael Brothers
Ian McEwan's "Daydreamer" is one of those rare novels that kids and adults will enoy, though for very different reasons.
E. A Solinas
After reading a part of this book, I think this book is a little bit boring.
Tomato Li

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
Children have vivid imaginations, and the weird fantasies of a child are some of the most striking that a person can have. Ian McEwan's "Daydreamer" is one of those rare novels that kids and adults will enoy, though for very different reasons.
Ten-year-old Peter Fortune is supposedly a "difficult" boy, even though he's well-behaved and kind. That's only because he's a quiet loner -- he doesn't mind being around other people, but he prefers to withdraw into his vivid daydreams. When he and his sister fight and he receives his own room, an evil doll leads the other dolls to attack him. When an elderly cat is bullied by a younger cat, Peter becomes the cat for a day. He rubs vanishing cream on his family. He switches bodies with Kenneth, a wobbly toddler who tries to eat everything. He encounters a mystery burglar who has been robbing houses on his street. And he dreams of being an adult.
McEwan's books are usually much darker than "Daydreamer," but this book doesn't seem lightweight or dumbed-down. It's less like a novel than a series of seven interconnected short stories, each focusing on Peter and how reality shapes his daydreams. McEwan's writing is dreamy but realistic, and often very funny (such as Peter's reaction when he finds himself in Kenneth's baby body).
There's nothing objectionable in this book, and McEwan tinges the few frightening images with humor (when the dolls pull off one of Peter's limbs, he yells, "Hey, give those back!"). Kids will probably enjoy reading about Peter's daydreams, especially if they imagine such vivid things themselves. And adults may like getting a glimpse back in time of when they were able to dream that way. Peter has the purity of a child, knowing that a cat has a soul and feeling sorry for a bully he reduced to tears.
If you ever had weird, now-seeming-ridiculous fantasies (or if you still do -- not everybody stops!), then this book will bring a smile to your face.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By M. McCarthy on April 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
My 11-year-old son and I listened to an audiotape of this book on a lengthy drive; we were rapt. My son, also a fantastical daydreamer, absolutely identified with the main character. Contrary to what some of the other reviewers reported, we found the stories extremely inventive and gripping. I found the final story about falling in love especially poignant and lovely. This book is written for children yet possesses good vocabulary and McEwan's incisive writing style. He does not dumb down the language nor the content for children. I recommend this book highly, and especially recommend the audiotape version--the narrator's reading is excellent.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Buy him books like this! My 11 year-old son loved this book so much, he insisted that I read it, too. I'm glad I did; it's a lovely collection of stories about the vivid fantasy life of a young boy. Like many children, he often wishes to be other than he is - an adult, a baby, a hero. Our favorite story was the one in which the boy becomes his cat. This is a wonderful, thought-provoking book for children and adults, perfect for reading together.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
I bought this book, thinking that my oldest daughter who is 11 would like to read it. When I got it, I read it before her and found it wonderfully funny and easy to relate to. I love to read aloud to my children, and since each chapter is a short story or adventure in Peter's life, I decided it would be a great book to read before bedtime each night. My girls absolutely loved it and laughed out loud at Peter's adventures. They asked me to read it to their respective classes, and I did to my 4th grader's class. They got so attached to Peter that when I read his last story, they asked me if I could start over and read it to them again. Peter had become their best friend, someone who fullfilled their fantasies. A must for every parent, especially if your child is a daydreamer.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on July 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
although it is simple to read, the daydreamer proved very interesting. McEwan uses peter to show the ciacological changes and ideas we all go through and have. it really is about putting yourself in other peoples shoes and experiencing what it is like to be them. peters ideas and thoughts bring the book alive and really show what it is like to be a 10 year old boy growing up. it made me think about what i was like when i was 10 and the way i behaved.you have to really think about what the book is about and its meaning. i found it very interesting discussing the book and other peoples views on it. i really enjoyed it. it is well worth reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 26, 1998
Format: Hardcover
By Venyce, Grade 4, Washington DC You should read the Daydreamer by Ian McEwan !!! Many different kinds of people wold like this book. People who have big imaginations would like it, because they can daydream with Peter and become a cat or a baby or even a grown up. People who are hungry for adventure would like it, because Peter makes your parents vanish into thin air with vanishing cream and talks to dolls. Can you imagine that? People who can bring their imaginination far out would like this book because Peter becomes a baby and remembers what it was like. People who can be like a child with a big imagination would like this book. They would like it because they can become mountain climbers or defeat bullies with words. And everyone should read it because it was one of the greatest books in the world.
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