The Dreamer
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The Dreamer

3.92 (4,492 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Pura Belpre Award Winner A tender, transcendent, and meticulously crafted novel from Newbery Honoree, Pam Munoz Ryan, and three-time Caldecott Honoree, Peter Sis! From the time he is a young boy, Neftali hears the call of a mysterious voice. Even when the neighborhood children taunt him, and when his harsh, authoritarian father ridicules him, and when he doubts himself, Neftali knows he cannot ignore the call. He listens and follows as it leads him under the canopy of the lush rain forest, into the fearsome sea, and through the persistent Chilean rain on an inspiring voyage of self-discovery that will transform his life and, ultimately, the world. Combining elements of magical realism with biography, poetry, literary fiction, and transporting illustrations, Pam Munoz Ryan and Peter Sis take readers on a rare journey of the heart and imagination as they explore the inspiring early life of the poet who became Pablo Neruda."show more

Product details

  • 9-12
  • Hardback | 372 pages
  • 154.94 x 193.04 x 33.02mm | 544.31g
  • Scholastic US
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • colour illustrations
  • 0439269709
  • 9780439269704
  • 335,940

About Pam Munoz Ryan

Pam Munoz Ryan is the recipient of the Newbery Honor Medal and the Kirkus Prize for her New York Times bestselling novel, Echo, as well as the NEA s Human and Civil Rights Award and the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award for multicultural literature for her body of work. She has written more than thirty books for young readers. Her celebrated novels, Echo, Esperanza Rising, The Dreamer, Riding Freedom, Becoming Naomi Leon, and Paint the Wind, have received countless accolades, among them two Pura Belpre Awards, a NAPPA Gold Award, a Jane Addams Children s Book Award, and two Americas Awards. Her acclaimed picture books include Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride and When Marian Sang, both illustrated by Brian Selznick, and Tony Baloney, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham, as well as a beginning reader series featuring Tony Baloney. Ryan lives near San Diego, CA with her family. Peter Sis is a Hans Christian Anderson Award winner, a three-time Caldecott Honoree, a Sibert Award winner, and a MacArthur Fellow. He is the illustrator of Pam Munoz Ryan's The Dreamer, a Pura Belpre Award winner, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book, and an ALA Notable. Sis's many celebrated picture books, including Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei, Tibet Through the Red Box, and The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain, are treasured by readers all over the world. His most recent picture book, Ice Cream Summer, was hailed by Kirkus Reviews in a starred review as an encomium to summer, to the power of learning, and to that beloved, creamy-cold treat. When Peter isn t traveling the globe eating ice cream, he creates picture books and fine art that can be seen in galleries, museums, and public spaces from New York to Los Angeles, London to Prague, and lots of cities in between. Visit Peter online and learn more about his award-winning books at www.petersis.com."show more

Review quote

Respinning the childhood of the widely beloved poet Pablo Neruda, Ryan and Sis collaborate to create a stirring, fictionalized portrait of a timid boy s flowering artistry. Young Neftali Reyes (Neruda s real name) spends most of his time either dreamily pondering the world or cowering from his domineering father, who will brook no such idleness from his son. In early scenes, when the boy wanders rapt in a forest or spends a formative summer by the seashore, Ryan loads the narrative with vivid sensory details. And although it isn t quite poetry, it eloquently evokes the sensation of experiencing the world as someone who savors the rhythms of words and gets lost in the intricate surprises of nature. The neat squares of Sis meticulously stippled illustrations, richly symbolic in their own right, complement and deepen the lyrical quality of the book. As Neftali grows into a teen, he becomes increasingly aware of the plight of the indigenous Mapuche in his Chilean homeland, and Ryan does a remarkable job of integrating these themes of social injustice, neither overwhelming nor becoming secondary to Neftali s story. This book has all the feel of a classic, elegant and measured, but deeply rewarding and eminently readable. Ryan includes a small collection of Neruda s poetry and a thoughtful endnote that delves into how she found the seeds for the story and sketches Neruda s subsequent life and legacy. Ian Chipman "show more

Rating details

4,492 ratings
3.92 out of 5 stars
5 34% (1,543)
4 35% (1,575)
3 22% (969)
2 7% (298)
1 2% (107)

Our customer reviews

Reason for Reading: I wouldn't have read this if I hadn't received a review copy but Ryan is the author of one of my son's favourite books that he has had read to him multiple times, Riding Freedom, and I love Peter Sis' artwork. Besides, I always enjoy a good biography, even children's fictional biographies. The poetry angle did worry me though as I am not a fan of poetry in general (except for the silly, rhyming kind ala Shel Silverstien and specific epic poems). This tells the story of Neftali Reyes' childhood, better known by his pen name Pablo Neruda, a great 20th century poet and winner of the Nobel Prize, though I've never heard of him before. And quickly sums up his adulthood in the closing chapters. The last pages include a sampling of his poetry. He had a rough, some would call abusive childhood. A mother who died 2 months after his birth, he and his two siblings were raised by a domineering father who had no patience for daydreaming or idleness. He had worked himself up from poverty and expected his sons to have careers that he never had the opportunity for himself. The eldest son wanted to be a singer, and this was driven out of him brutally by the father who set him up as a businessman after sending him to college. His plans for Neftali were even loftier, expecting him to be a doctor. But Neftali fell short of his expectations in every aspect, being a thin, gangly, weak, sickly child who daydreamed, collected bits and pieces of detritus and loved to write. His father tried everything in his power to drive this creativity out of him, but with the encouragement of a newspaperman Uncle he was able to hold on to his ambition, deep down, until he escaped his father's influence. He did change his name though to save his father from the embarrassment of publicly having a poet and government dissident for a son. The story of Neftali's life is very interesting and the book reads with a gentle poetic flow, in keeping with its subject matter. The book has been printed in green ink as that is how Pablo Neruda himself liked to write. The author Pam Ryan has inserted her own short poetry here and there and the illustrations are accompanied by poetic questions in the form of Neruda's own "The Book of Questions". This will all be a bonus to poetry lovers especially those familiar with Neruda himself. Not liking artsy poetry myself, it didn't appeal to me but didn't bother me much either. Also the author has used magical realism to delve inside Neftali's imaginative, daydreaming personality writing his fantasies as if they were indeed happening. For instance, there is a scene where he finds a rhinoceros beetle in the forest for the first time and is fascinated with it, as he watches it, it grows larger and larger until it kneels down its front legs and offers itself to Neftali who then climbs aboard and sets off for a ride through the forest. I am a big fan of magical realism but this didn't work for me in this book as it just came across as a device the author was using to make the book even more artsy and poetic. There are several such episodes but they are not overwhelming. Overall, I really did enjoy the story of Neftali Reyes' childhood and would read his memoirs or a non-fiction biography if I happened to cross paths with them but I was not overly impressed with the artsy-f*rtsy ingredients added to this book and would have much preferred a straight historical fiction. Critics, I'm sure will love the book for its artfulness though.show more
by Nicola Mansfield
Neftali Reyes is quite the dreamer. He is easily distracted by old boots, unusual umbrellas, or odd-shaped objects. With a stutter that sometimes gets in the way of expressing himself verbally, Neftali starts writing. His father wants him to get his head out of the clouds and become something sensible, like a doctor, a dentist, or a lawyer. Can Neftali find a way to get his father to accept him for who he is? Will he hold true to what he holds dear? A touching, quick fictionalized biography based on the childhood of Pablo Neruda (born Neftali Reyes). The characters seem believable, and the story is inspirational and does a great job of helping readers relate to Neftali, who grew up to be a Nobel Prize-winning poet. Those who like historical fiction, biographies, and stories about writers' childhoods will enjoy reading THE DREAMER.show more
by TeensReadToo
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