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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
Let me say that I am a "biased-by-pleasure-and-admiration" fan of Pam Munoz Ryan and of Pablo Neruda, so that is the basis from which I come; I like/love much that these two people have contributed to the writing/reading world, each in her/his own way.
I find Pam Munoz Ryan to be an author of deep worth, with a special, artfully-delivered and thoughtful voice, so good for our children -- when her writings are chosen with care for age and maturity, as her subjects she tackles are not uniformly "easy".
I can imagine reading The Dreamer -- and sharing many reflective moments -- with a child of at least 11 (I would say, no younger). Also, I can conceive of a teacher of deep sensitivity and caring carving out the time to share it with her/his class, thoughtfully, over some days, with plenty of time for discussion, contemplation and, perhaps making it a part of a history-English block, as well.
No easy story, in the painful aspects of much of Neftali's/Pablo's young life, but so worthwhile; should spark further reading of Neruda (by older young people and adults), some exploration into Chile, human rights considerations...Read more ›
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 ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As an object, The Dreamer has to be one of the most beautiful books ever created. Every detail—the silver on the cover, the words printed in green, the generous white space on each... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Latinxs in Kid Lit
I love Echo because it is very exciting, sad, and I also like that the charecters storys intertwine. echos story is also very unpredictable.Published 7 months ago by Erin Doran
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 8 months ago by Teague Tubach
This is a beautiful book abut a boy named Neftali:
With an imagination bigger than he is Neftali Reyes is considered a idiot, fanatic, dim-witted daydreamer who is worthless... Read more
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 11 months ago by Humbuzz