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The Dreamer (Ala Notable Children's Books. Older Readers)

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A breathtaking illustrated novel from Pura Belpre Award winner, Pam Ryan, and MacArthur fellow and three-time Caldecott Honoree, Peter Sis! From the time he is a young boy, Neftalí 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, Neftalí knows he cannot ig A breathtaking illustrated novel from Pura Belpre Award winner, Pam Ryan, and MacArthur fellow and three-time Caldecott Honoree, Peter Sis! From the time he is a young boy, Neftalí 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, Neftalí knows he cannot ignore the call. Under the canopy of the lush rain forest, into the fearsome sea, and through the persistent Chilean rain, he listens and he follows. . . Combining elements of magical realism with biography, poetry, literary fiction, and sensorial, transporting illustrations, Pam Muñoz Ryan and Peter Sís take readers on a rare journey of the heart and imagination.


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A breathtaking illustrated novel from Pura Belpre Award winner, Pam Ryan, and MacArthur fellow and three-time Caldecott Honoree, Peter Sis! From the time he is a young boy, Neftalí 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, Neftalí knows he cannot ig A breathtaking illustrated novel from Pura Belpre Award winner, Pam Ryan, and MacArthur fellow and three-time Caldecott Honoree, Peter Sis! From the time he is a young boy, Neftalí 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, Neftalí knows he cannot ignore the call. Under the canopy of the lush rain forest, into the fearsome sea, and through the persistent Chilean rain, he listens and he follows. . . Combining elements of magical realism with biography, poetry, literary fiction, and sensorial, transporting illustrations, Pam Muñoz Ryan and Peter Sís take readers on a rare journey of the heart and imagination.

30 review for The Dreamer (Ala Notable Children's Books. Older Readers)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Müni (MuenisBookWorld)

    OMG this book was everything. I loved the whole story. I read this out loud so my little sister could listen to me. She lay next to me and listened to every word and every sentence I read. She loved the illustrations in the book. They were epic! She loved it and critized Neftalís father. "Why is he like that? Why doesn`t he support his son?" she asked. She was inspired by the little boy Neftalí and his visions and his dreams. Neftalí may have been a little boy, but he was indeed a big man in the insid OMG this book was everything. I loved the whole story. I read this out loud so my little sister could listen to me. She lay next to me and listened to every word and every sentence I read. She loved the illustrations in the book. They were epic! She loved it and critized Neftalís father. "Why is he like that? Why doesn`t he support his son?" she asked. She was inspired by the little boy Neftalí and his visions and his dreams. Neftalí may have been a little boy, but he was indeed a big man in the inside with a big DREAM. This book needs more attention! Pablo Neruda

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lars Guthrie

    This precious jewel of a book is marred only by not ending where it should have. Ryan and Peter Sis, who get equal billing on the jacket, have created an exquisite piece of art. Prose, poetry and picture are skillfully interwoven and seamlessly merged in the story of a sickly, dreamy boy who lives in Temuco, Chile. It's the perfect spot for a dreamer like Neftali, equidistant from the Pacific and the Andes, the roar of the sea and the rumbling of a volcano. It's the gateway to the Araucanian for This precious jewel of a book is marred only by not ending where it should have. Ryan and Peter Sis, who get equal billing on the jacket, have created an exquisite piece of art. Prose, poetry and picture are skillfully interwoven and seamlessly merged in the story of a sickly, dreamy boy who lives in Temuco, Chile. It's the perfect spot for a dreamer like Neftali, equidistant from the Pacific and the Andes, the roar of the sea and the rumbling of a volcano. It's the gateway to the Araucanian forest, home to the indigenous Mapuche people and exotic and mysterious creatures like the rhinocerous beetle and the Chucao bird. But Neftali's domineering father, determined to toughen up his son, continually works to constrict the boy's wandering mind and sensitive soul. The father feels that Neftali is too much like his gentle, departed mother, and relies too much on his kind stepmother. Through the power of words and images, which Sis, in his marvelous way, floats across the pages, the shy and meek Neftali learns to fiercely hold on to what makes him original and unique. He seizes the oppportunity to pour his creativity into print. And when his father burns his notebooks and papers, an ember still glows in the ashes of the fire. If only that was where Ryan and Sis stopped. Neftali turns out to be Pablo Neruda, and the authors, albeit briefly, insist on following him to college in Santiago and launching his career as a world-famous poet. This grown-up part of the book, incandescent as the story of a boy, felt tacked on. Such information would have been better served in the author's note. Despite the clever image of a book becoming a bird, it was exposition that failed, unlike the rest of this radiant work, to fly.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rory

    I like reading poetry but I don't often care about poets. In fact, the less I know about them, the better. Nor do I like touchy-feely, dreamy-creamy, nothing's-real-OR-IS-IT stuff, either. And, come on--do kids? Nah. Shelley's review had it right, that this was a mix of "magical realism, biography, poetry and literary fiction." She thought it was nicely done and maybe so do I but what's the point of a nicely done children's book that no child will want to read? I feel like Pam Muñoz Ryan just as I like reading poetry but I don't often care about poets. In fact, the less I know about them, the better. Nor do I like touchy-feely, dreamy-creamy, nothing's-real-OR-IS-IT stuff, either. And, come on--do kids? Nah. Shelley's review had it right, that this was a mix of "magical realism, biography, poetry and literary fiction." She thought it was nicely done and maybe so do I but what's the point of a nicely done children's book that no child will want to read? I feel like Pam Muñoz Ryan just asked her publisher, "Hey, have I written enough well-received books on enough teacher-recommended reading lists that I can now just write a hazy fantasy about Pablo Neruda that no kid will ever touch?" And her publisher responded, "Sure. We'll give it a real pretty cover. In fact, Peter Sis, KING of well-received books that adults like more than kids, will illustrate it." I should just stop reading Newbery contenders. The process brings out the shithead in me.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Casey Strauss

    I absolutely loved reading this book, and ended up finishing it in one sitting. The Dreamer is the fictionalized telling of poet Pablo Neruda's childhood. Pam Munoz Ryan weaves in her own poetry within the pages of her book. This narrative details different challenges that Neruda faced as a young boy; a strict father who pushed his own dreams on his children, sickness, and his love a writing that was constantly looked down upon by his father.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    Author Pam Munoz Ryan, illustrator Peter Sis and their book designers have created a true work of art in the biographical novel The Dreamer. A fictionalized account of the childhood of Neftali Reyes (who later adopted the pen name Pablo Neruda), the book is both a physical and emotional jewel. Its iridescent blue/green/silver cover brings to mind the startling beetle that Neftali excitedly discovers on his first visit out into the jungle with his father, and the unusual text color echos the poe Author Pam Munoz Ryan, illustrator Peter Sis and their book designers have created a true work of art in the biographical novel The Dreamer. A fictionalized account of the childhood of Neftali Reyes (who later adopted the pen name Pablo Neruda), the book is both a physical and emotional jewel. Its iridescent blue/green/silver cover brings to mind the startling beetle that Neftali excitedly discovers on his first visit out into the jungle with his father, and the unusual text color echos the poet's own choice -- Neruda wrote in green ink, we are told, "the color of hope." Threaded through the narrative are Sis's signature stippled illustrations and successive staznas of Ryan's "I Am Poetry." Neftali is a painfully shy, stuttering child being raised by his loving grandmother and his rigid, imperious father. Despite the fact that older brother Rodolpho is a talented singer, and that Neftali clearly has an unusual gift for keen observation and a particular talent for writing, their father is determined that they pursue business and medicine respectively. As Rodolpho keeps a protective eye on his younger brother, so Neftali tries to shelter his little sister Laurita from Father's wrath throughout the story. As we know, Neftali did eventually find the strength and voice to pursue his poetry, even in the face of the tyranny of both his father and the Chilean government. Despite the fact that the events of the narrative are generally stark, the reader is ultimately left with a sense of hope, and Sis's illustration of a small boy astride a winged pen brings to mind Emily Dickinson's "thing with feathers" -- poetry is the voice and relief for the tormented soul.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    I found this completely engrossing. I could not stop reading about Neftali and his controlling, dismissive father, his childhood in the mountains of Chile, and the rest of his family: brother Rodolfo, who gives up singing to please their father, his little sister Laurita, and his loving stepmother, who tries to help him, quietly. Ryan describes Neftali noticing the people and natural things around him, collecting treasures: pinecones, rocks, feathers and words, on slips of paper -- trying to ple I found this completely engrossing. I could not stop reading about Neftali and his controlling, dismissive father, his childhood in the mountains of Chile, and the rest of his family: brother Rodolfo, who gives up singing to please their father, his little sister Laurita, and his loving stepmother, who tries to help him, quietly. Ryan describes Neftali noticing the people and natural things around him, collecting treasures: pinecones, rocks, feathers and words, on slips of paper -- trying to please his father, but finding his own interests irresistible. Little episodes are strung together like beads on a string; some of them seem dreamlike, or like fairytales. This effect is aided by Peter Sis' fantastic artwork. Printed in green ink, as Neruda preferred to write. Ryan has included a few of Neruda's poems in an afterword--be ready to supply more to inspired young writers and dreamers. Memorable: loves the ocean, despite being forced to swim in it every summer. Nursing the injured swan. The trip by train with his father--how it went from wonderful to terrible . His father's lack of pride in his writing being published.His journalist uncle's support. Having to write letters "from" a bully to Neftali's love, Blanca--she knows their his.

  7. 4 out of 5

    GraceAnne

    Beautiful and moving and exquisitely written and illustrated, as if the writer and artist moved entirely within the voice of the poet. Not all children will love this, but some will, and some few will find their own voices within it. I will find a way to teach this in my children's and YA literature classes.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Donalyn

    I read many books-- enjoying most of them-- but it is rare to encounter a book that takes my breath away. Reading The Dreamer, I knew I was witnessing genius on the page-- Munoz Ryan's achingly beautiful prose, Sis' fanciful illustrations, and most of all, Pablo Neruda's poetry.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Josiah

    "In the largest of worlds, what adventures await the smallest of ships?" —The Dreamer, P. 150 First off, an admission: like Neftalí in this book, I am a dreamer. I know what it's like to look at the same world in which everyone else lives and see it in an almost entirely different way from them; to sense the sweet breath of hope and nobility in the least ostentatious places, and find the gentle comfort of a nurturing touch where no one else would even think to look. Such a boy with notions like "In the largest of worlds, what adventures await the smallest of ships?" —The Dreamer, P. 150 First off, an admission: like Neftalí in this book, I am a dreamer. I know what it's like to look at the same world in which everyone else lives and see it in an almost entirely different way from them; to sense the sweet breath of hope and nobility in the least ostentatious places, and find the gentle comfort of a nurturing touch where no one else would even think to look. Such a boy with notions like these is Neftalí, a thoughtful child with a spirit of romanticism blossoming within his heart, though the corrosive discouragement of his father eats away at the roots of his confidence every time his belief begins to grow. Neftalí is a writer in soul, his lack of physical dominance made up for by the lovely strokes of his pen, even while those strokes sit yet stored inside of their plastic vessel. "From what are the walls of a sanctuary built? And those of a prison?" The Dreamer, P. 193 Neftalí has a lovely soul, demonstrated over and over in the early events of this book. His visit to the ocean with his father, and the way that he manages to find a quiet alcove all his own in which he can be himself, despite his father's persistence in forcing him to become more physically active; the swans that he befriends and feeds and talks to in the little cabin that he finds to use as his quiet place at the beach, giving the curious birds a small piece of himself as he openly converses with them; the way that he and his sister, Laurita, give their all in a desperate attempt to nurse the swan back to health when a serious injury threatens its life. Through everything, the spirit of love moves inside of Neftalí with the open-minded wonder of an artist seeking to find his place in the universe. The fierce opposition that Neftalí continually faces from his father might seem to be a relic of yesteryear; after all, nowadays having an active mind overflowing with creativity like warm magma would not usually be considered a negative trait in a young person. I think, though, that while the specific targets of an overbearing parent in western culture may generally now be different, the concept of fathers (or mothers) who seek to control the future of their children by being too controlling of them never really changes. The problems of trying to find one's own path in a broken world are as old as literature itself, providing much of the conflict seen both in real life and in print. After all, if a parent can't understand the future of their son or daughter the way that the child sees it, how hard must it be to fight the urge to interfere? Such impulses are what made them a good, responsible parent during the early years of their child's existence. When Neftalí steps outside of his immediate issues, though, and looks up at the night sky, or at the majestic frothing ocean waves crashing down on the shore of the beach and bowing to him in submission, as it were, he can begin to let his fertile mind loose to explore the deeper mysteries of the world and universe that continue to expand around him. This is when a talented, soulful writer such as Neftalí can really begin to luminesce, can begin the process of learning about what the events of his own life really mean and how in the bigger picture, those sometimes painful personal moments teach him more about life in general than he could have ever learned without having grappled with such problems. "There is always a way to do what you truly love." —The Dreamer, P. 273 Pam Muñoz Ryan does a very good job of hiding the little secret of the book until right at the end. You see, Neftalí is not just your "average" dreamer, but has something special in his future, something that will scatter the memory of his lifetime to the four corners of the earth and keep alive the embers of his passion for literary creation long after he has drawn his parting breath here on earth. And who deserves more to be forever remembered than a soul as beautiful as Neftalí, whose love leaves an invisible but very real handprint behind wherever he goes, shimmering in its warmth for those with eyes to see it as they ponder, like Neftalí did, the impact of a life built upon the foundation of "Amor"? The Dreamer is a story of quiet, true wonder, a personal journey into the minds and hearts of each and every reader who chances to turn its pages, and absolutely deserving of the awards it has received. I walk away from the experience with a deep affection for Neftalí and the world he left behind, as I stare out at the same night skies his tender eyes watched, considering what it means to live under that same heavenly expanse. Those are the kinds of thoughts conjured by by reading The Dreamer, and by knowing Neftalí, whose beautiful soul will long stay with just about any reader lucky enough to meet him in this book. I would give at least the full three stars to The Dreamer, and I could be persuaded to consider more.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Pranav Barath

    This book is the best book I’ve ever read! The boy named Neftali was one strong boy. When his father was angry at him he obeyed him but inside him he was a totally different person. The author really thought of how a daydreamer’s life would be.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jeannie

    The message to follow your dreams is wonderful, making poets "cool", especially those from other countries is a great idea, and Pam Munoz Ryan's questions combined with Peter Sis' drawings are fantastic such as "Which is sharper? The hatchet that cuts down the dream? Or the scythe that clears a path for another?" 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 r The message to follow your dreams is wonderful, making poets "cool", especially those from other countries is a great idea, and Pam Munoz Ryan's questions combined with Peter Sis' drawings are fantastic such as "Which is sharper? The hatchet that cuts down the dream? Or the scythe that clears a path for another?" 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.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Linda Lipko

    Neftali is a small, skinny boy. His Latin American father demands sons that are macho like him. The family consisting of his step mother, older brother and younger sister, are all afraid of the head of the family. Te least thing can set him off, flying into a fit of rage. When his father is not home, there is a relaxed feeling, and laughter which stops immediately upon hearing his approaching footsteps. Neftali is a dreamer, a young boy with the soul of an artist. He sees imaginary images in the Neftali is a small, skinny boy. His Latin American father demands sons that are macho like him. The family consisting of his step mother, older brother and younger sister, are all afraid of the head of the family. Te least thing can set him off, flying into a fit of rage. When his father is not home, there is a relaxed feeling, and laughter which stops immediately upon hearing his approaching footsteps. Neftali is a dreamer, a young boy with the soul of an artist. He sees imaginary images in the smallest object, making something that is lack luster to others, stellar and shiny to him. The middle child, he protects his youngest sister, while trying to understand his older brothers hostility toward his father. All too soon, Naftali is also subjected to the same treatment as his brother. There is no way to calm the brutish father, making Netfali escape into dreams. His brother has a stunningly beautiful operatic voice. Longing to pursue training in music, the father ridicules and forbids. When his father discovers all his writing journals, they are burned and Neftali knows he cannot remain strong and live in this environment. Angry, Neftali cannot understand his mother's lack of standing up for her children, and her passivity around their father. Based upon the real life of the Pultizer Prize winning poet Pablo Neruda, this story focuses on the determination, strength and resilience of the human spirit which calls to be free. The pages are interspersed with lovely poetic phrases and beautiful images. Highly recommended Four stars.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Q-Laura Zarate

    If I had met Pablo Neruda I'll have fallen in love with him. He had a sensibility to his world like no one else. He could see the difference of colors in the grass. I love the fact that he collects little souvenirs from nature. The story is full of poetry, images and feelings. The illustrations are unique and dream like. I read the book in Spanish. I have seen a movie about Neruda's life. In the movie someone asks him to write a letter for his love just like the story in the book. Growing up in Co If I had met Pablo Neruda I'll have fallen in love with him. He had a sensibility to his world like no one else. He could see the difference of colors in the grass. I love the fact that he collects little souvenirs from nature. The story is full of poetry, images and feelings. The illustrations are unique and dream like. I read the book in Spanish. I have seen a movie about Neruda's life. In the movie someone asks him to write a letter for his love just like the story in the book. Growing up in Colombia I heard many stories about Pinochet and the other dictators that hurt our people. Reading this story I felt the nervousness that all the stories gave me. It took me back in time. Some of the feelings of oppression from his father are the same than the dictators produce on people. Sadly under oppression if where some of the best writers have emerge. Don't miss the author's notes. It explains why the ink is green in the book. The fire that burned the newspaper reminded me of the destruction of the Cinema Paradiso in the movie of the same title. I love the book and I can't wait to read it in English.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    Every time I hear about the poet Pablo Neruda, I am reminded of the Simpsons episode where Bart sells his soul to Milhouse: Bart: I know that’s funny, but I’m just not laughing. [taps head] Lisa: Hmm. Pablo Neruda said, “Laughter is the language of the soul.” Bart: [in a snippy tone] I am familiar with the works of Pablo Neruda. Anyway, back to the book... The Dreamer is a gorgeous biographical novel about Pablo Neruda's childhood. While I do agree with some of the Goodreads griping that kids would n Every time I hear about the poet Pablo Neruda, I am reminded of the Simpsons episode where Bart sells his soul to Milhouse: Bart: I know that’s funny, but I’m just not laughing. [taps head] Lisa: Hmm. Pablo Neruda said, “Laughter is the language of the soul.” Bart: [in a snippy tone] I am familiar with the works of Pablo Neruda. Anyway, back to the book... The Dreamer is a gorgeous biographical novel about Pablo Neruda's childhood. While I do agree with some of the Goodreads griping that kids would never pick it up on their own, I still don't think it's completely unsuitable for children. This would make a wonderful book for teachers to teach poetry, while also sneaking in a novel study. Pablo Neruda uses common but beautiful language in his poetry, and the illustrations by Peter Sis would grab a child's attention. On a more personal level, I related quite a bit to Pablo's childhood of being called absent-minded and scatterbrained [though I never had a father quite like that]. And of course, I always appreciate Ryan's gift for language. She made me want to read more about Neruda, and more by Neruda, as well.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    Audience: Intermediate Genre: Realistic Fiction Bloom's Taxonomy Questions: Remembering - What did Neftali find in Mamadre's trunk? Understanding - Neftali wonders how, "he could be absentminded when his head was so crowded with thoughts (Munoz Ryan, 2010, p. 73)." Explain what the author means by this. Applying - What examples can you find in the text that describe Neftali's relationship with his father? Analyzing - How would you compare the Chilean government, where Neftali lives, with the Amer Audience: Intermediate Genre: Realistic Fiction Bloom's Taxonomy Questions: Remembering - What did Neftali find in Mamadre's trunk? Understanding - Neftali wonders how, "he could be absentminded when his head was so crowded with thoughts (Munoz Ryan, 2010, p. 73)." Explain what the author means by this. Applying - What examples can you find in the text that describe Neftali's relationship with his father? Analyzing - How would you compare the Chilean government, where Neftali lives, with the American government? Evaluating - Why do you think Neftali retreats to his own thoughts? To the forest? Creating - Imagine you are Neftali (Pablo Neruda) in a rain forest in Chile. Create a poem about your surroundings. References Munoz Ryan, P. (2010). The dreamer. New York, NY: Scholastic Press

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    A dreamy child of a hard man, Neftali grew up skinny and stuttering in a house of mysteries and fears, loved by a sympathetic stepmother, supported by an uncle whose newspaper promoted the rights of Native Chileans, and made determined by years of forced "swimming" among terrifying waves, he became the famous poet Pablo Neruda. This fiction crafted from episodes in Neruda's biography, incorporates some poetry and some Neruda-like questions, as well as some of his own works in an afterword. Peter A dreamy child of a hard man, Neftali grew up skinny and stuttering in a house of mysteries and fears, loved by a sympathetic stepmother, supported by an uncle whose newspaper promoted the rights of Native Chileans, and made determined by years of forced "swimming" among terrifying waves, he became the famous poet Pablo Neruda. This fiction crafted from episodes in Neruda's biography, incorporates some poetry and some Neruda-like questions, as well as some of his own works in an afterword. Peter Sis is the perfect illustrator, with allusive drawings, especially of the kinds of small, curious things the boy (and later the man) collected. The bookmaking itself is beautiful, with care in the paper, the font and color of the ocean-blue ink, the setting of type on the page and the incorporation of Sis's drawings. Beautiful in every way.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Noninuna

    Neftali is sickly & weak so he spends most of his time in bed, either reading or daydreaming; not something his father approve of. He wants him to be more ambitious for his future job. And here, we're talking about a kid who're just 8 years old. Something special about Neftali is that his imagination is so vivid, it reads almost magical. It's one of those book that after it ended, you have the urge to hug it. This is a fiction created based on Pablo Neruda's poems & biography. I've no idea it wa Neftali is sickly & weak so he spends most of his time in bed, either reading or daydreaming; not something his father approve of. He wants him to be more ambitious for his future job. And here, we're talking about a kid who're just 8 years old. Something special about Neftali is that his imagination is so vivid, it reads almost magical. It's one of those book that after it ended, you have the urge to hug it. This is a fiction created based on Pablo Neruda's poems & biography. I've no idea it was based on a real person until I read the author's note and I've never heard of Pablo Neruda before. Reading few of his poems provided at the end of the book, I think I'm gonna love his creations be it his essays or his other poems. Looking at the layout of the book where it has large font and spacing, this book is obviously targeted for children but as an adult, I totally enjoyed it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Marvelous! The writing and the story are so beautiful that I was moved to tears more than once. Here is one page that describes the boy's feelings as his father burned his writing journals. "Neighbors peered from the windows. Wagon drivers stopped, all watching Neftali's innermost feelings turn to yellow and orange and blue. His thoughts and cares and affections grew singed and curled. The remnants of his soul floated into the sky like gray snowflakes. His despair and fury about injustice flamed Marvelous! The writing and the story are so beautiful that I was moved to tears more than once. Here is one page that describes the boy's feelings as his father burned his writing journals. "Neighbors peered from the windows. Wagon drivers stopped, all watching Neftali's innermost feelings turn to yellow and orange and blue. His thoughts and cares and affections grew singed and curled. The remnants of his soul floated into the sky like gray snowflakes. His despair and fury about injustice flamed upward and disappeared. And there was nothing he could do. The whistle blasted and blasted. Neftalie stood defeated, head and shoulders collapsed." This should win the Newbery and the Caldecott. It is a magnificent contribution. Bravo!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Dobrez

    I just read the galley of this fictionalized biography of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. I'm eager to see the finished book with the complete artwork of Peter Sis. Ryan brings the landscape to life as much as the characters and the close observations are perfectly suited to describing the story of a poet's life. I don't have much patience with overbearing hater-of-the-arts characters (in this case Neruda's father) but his negative influence most assuredly factors into Pablo's dual role as poet and r I just read the galley of this fictionalized biography of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. I'm eager to see the finished book with the complete artwork of Peter Sis. Ryan brings the landscape to life as much as the characters and the close observations are perfectly suited to describing the story of a poet's life. I don't have much patience with overbearing hater-of-the-arts characters (in this case Neruda's father) but his negative influence most assuredly factors into Pablo's dual role as poet and revolutionary against injustice.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    I liked but didn't love this, and have no interest in seeing it on the Newbery list. I found it overly repetitive and self-consciously quiet, and it will mightily confuse your more literal children (though I enjoyed the slips into surrealism). I don't think we see a compelling presentation of plot here. I'm glad she included some of Neruda's poetry at the end, though it annoyed me that the author's note seems to be written for the parent or teacher rather than a child reader.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Abby Johnson

    In poetic and expressive prose and with captivating illustrations by Peter Sis, Pam Munoz Ryan takes the reader inside the childhood of the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. This is a book that will stick with me for a long time and it'd make a great addition to units on poetry. Hand this one to the young writers and dreamers in your life. http://www.abbythelibrarian.com/2011/... In poetic and expressive prose and with captivating illustrations by Peter Sis, Pam Munoz Ryan takes the reader inside the childhood of the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. This is a book that will stick with me for a long time and it'd make a great addition to units on poetry. Hand this one to the young writers and dreamers in your life. http://www.abbythelibrarian.com/2011/...

  22. 5 out of 5

    RLL220F16_Sheila Williams

    The Dreamer was a very well written book that reminds us to follow our passions. Especially when support can not be found at home. Neftali faced an unsupportive father, a mother too frightened to speak up, and a brother who was tired of speaking up. many individuals can relate to this. The illustrations and poetry were a wonderful bonus.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ana

    A fictionalized account of the childhood and adolescence of Neftali Reyes (who later adopted the pen name Pablo Neruda) as he explores the world, the written word under the tyranny of his father and the looming tyranny of the government. Highly recommend the audiobook!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    2011 Belpré Author Award winner Fictionalized bio of Neruda's childhood. Beautiful writing combined with excerpts from his poems. Beautifully designed book too.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Margaux

    Something I truly enjoy it is the story of Pablo Neruda a famous poet what New York Times said as hypnotic text extraordinary art

  26. 5 out of 5

    Haleigh

    Best book ever!!!!!!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

    3.5 Stars Cute story based on the childhood of the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rasydan Fitri

    The story itself is already a story we are used to reading. But poetry and magical realism helped elevate it, also because of Peter Sis's illustrations.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alexis

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I read this book with my son as he read it for school. We picked up the book at a school book sale because of its intermittent pictures and occasional pages with poetry. At a first glance, it reminded my son of the book a Nest or Celeste, that was structured in a similar way. However, we were completely surprised with what the book offered us in the end. The main character Neftali Reyes, a young boy struggling to grow up under an oppressive father in a country with an oppressive regime, is none o I read this book with my son as he read it for school. We picked up the book at a school book sale because of its intermittent pictures and occasional pages with poetry. At a first glance, it reminded my son of the book a Nest or Celeste, that was structured in a similar way. However, we were completely surprised with what the book offered us in the end. The main character Neftali Reyes, a young boy struggling to grow up under an oppressive father in a country with an oppressive regime, is none other than Pablo Neruda, the Nobel Prize winning poet of the 20th century, growing up in Chile. (just an aside here, my father is currently in South America seeing places referenced in this book, so my son very much identified with the story in thinking that his grandfather might be familiar with things he was reading about.) The book is a story of Neftali's life and the images and poetry intermixed are the work of Neruda himself over the years that were so clearly shaped by his childhood. There are moments of discipline from the father that my son could only see as child abuse, so we spent much time discussing different cultures and different eras when parent disciplined their children differently. Neftali's mother died at his birth, so we had significant discussions about this as well, and how perhaps the father had become a hardened person through this suffering, or perhaps blamed this younger son. There are moments of political oppression and suffering of the natives of the area (Manchapu, not sure if that is spelled right) and the attempts of the lower classes trying to rise against the regime of the time. These are put down with force and violence, once again leading to significant discussions with my 11-year old son. At the end of the book, we see a young and confident Neftali venturing off to the university and we are then given a brief bio of Neruda's life as an adult. There is mention of Pinochet (another discussion point) and I even used Sting's song "They Danced Alone" in an effort for my son to grasp the magnitude of the effect such oppression can have on a society and on individuals. I must say, we only discovered this was a fictional biography of the poet when my son spent time looking it up online (on his own which demonstrated his interest in the story) There were times he was riveted to the story and other times he really struggled with teh intended meaning and important points of each chapter. Except for the last chapter he read it on his own, with me reading the chapter after he did and we would discuss it before he wrote his chapter summary for school. The book looks deceivingly simple and sweet, but parents should be forewarned and prepared for some pretty heavy and critical topics if their children pick it up to read. It is a very worthwhile book to open many topics that children might not otherwise broach until much later in life, and it is a wonderful opportunity to open the world of justice, solidarity and human rights, I enjoyed it very much, and it is now in my husband's queue to read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sweet on Books

    Neftali is an eight year-old Chilean boy at the start of the book. He is a daydreamer, constantly distracted by the little things he sees around him. He loves to collect odds and ends. What is trash to others is a treasure to Neftali. He believes that he gains some knowledge or benefit from everything that he touches. He dreams of seeing the world and uses his incredible imagination to visit far off places in his mind. His imagination is a much happier place than his real life where he is weak f Neftali is an eight year-old Chilean boy at the start of the book. He is a daydreamer, constantly distracted by the little things he sees around him. He loves to collect odds and ends. What is trash to others is a treasure to Neftali. He believes that he gains some knowledge or benefit from everything that he touches. He dreams of seeing the world and uses his incredible imagination to visit far off places in his mind. His imagination is a much happier place than his real life where he is weak from illness, extremely lonely and living in fear of his cruel father. Because he cannot tolerate Neftali’s behavior, his father constantly berates him for acting so absentmindedly. His cruelty goes beyond verbal abuse when he forces him to risk his life in the ocean water and when he burns his precious writing journals. Neftali faces bullying throughout the book, from his father to his brother to a boy at school. He seems to survive by retreating into his own thoughts and imagination. That is where he can safely explore the ideas and concepts that intrigue him. As the years pass, Neftali continues to hope that he will discover another side to his father but he is continuously disappointed, as his father remains staunch in his refusal to allow him to pursue his dreams. Somehow, despite the obstacles he faces, Neftali finds his own voice and manages to find ways to share it with the world. According to the author, the story of Neftali is based on the childhood of the Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda. As it was important to Neruda, the Chilean culture is key to this storyline. The people, along with the landscape and climate that surround them, are all portrayed in some detail. Government, politics and discrimination also play a role as the characters debate Chilean society’s poor treatment of the native Mapuche Indians. Another key feature, inspired by Neruda’s, The Book of Questions, is the inclusion of the author’s own thought provoking questions that appear as Neftali grows and develops. Also special are the coinciding extraordinary illustrations that create a unique element to Neftali’s story and really bring it to life. While the concepts here are lofty, the poetry is expressive, the author’s questions are thoughtful and the illustrations are intriguing, I’m not sure that this book is for everyone. The reader spends a great deal of time in Neftali’s imagination and there is not a lot of action. It is a great read aloud for you and your child or an excellent book club selection as it will definitely inspire conversation, but it may not be an easy read for some kids. Young poets may be interested in a selection of Neruda’s poems, included at the end of the book.

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