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Marianne Dreams (The Magic Drawing Pencil, #1)
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Marianne Dreams (The Magic Drawing Pencil #1)

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  529 ratings  ·  66 reviews
A powerful and haunting classic about a girl haunted by her own dreams.

Ill and bored with having to stay in bed, Marianne picks up a pencil and starts doodling - a house, a garden, a boy at the window. That night she has an extraordinary dream. She is transported into her own picture, and as she explores further she soon realises she is not alone. The boy at the window is
Paperback, 179 pages
Published 2000 by Faber and Faber (first published 1958)
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Jane-Emily by Patricia ClappMarianne Dreams by Catherine StorrWhen Marnie Was There by Joan G. RobinsonRobinsheugh by Eileen DunlopThe Wicked, Wicked Ladies in the Haunted House by Mary Chase
Obscure Children's Vintage Gems
2nd out of 188 books — 13 voters
Things Fall Apart by Chinua AchebeBreakfast at Tiffany's by Truman CapoteThe Cat in the Hat Comes Back by Dr. SeussA Bear Called Paddington by Michael BondBrave New World Revisited by Aldous Huxley
Best Books of 1958
15th out of 69 books — 31 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,143)
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Jan 27, 2010 Kinga rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Helen
Shelves: ghosts
A Children's book was exactly what the doctor ordered for this gloomy never ending winter. This book is a fabulous old-school kind of children's book with its old-fashioned vocabulary that makes it all more enojayble. It takes you back to the time when life was fresh and exciting. Now when we are old, the novelty of life has worn off, we have to go to work, buy groceries and pay the rent and we have to be reminded sometimes how exciting life really is.
Children's books do it for me.
This one real
Sep 24, 2010 Mariel rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of Charlotte Sometimes, lovers of dark kids fantasies
Recommended to Mariel by: me because I'm cool like that
I think anyone who dreams or imagines a lot about things they hear about, or just likes to make stuff up, would like Marianne Dreams a lot. Marianne is bedridden and only has her thoughts and drawing materials to keep her sane. That's a pretty thin grip on things, so dependent on moods. It only takes a creepy looking tree outside to throw a new light on impending future. (Some of us like to work ourselves up, too.)

Marianne's tutor tells her about another boy in the town, and Marianne includes hi
Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead
I read this when I was a kid. It is a MUST read if you like dark fantasy. The book was made into a movie and surprise, surprise... the movie
was excellent!
Philip Jackson
I'd never come across this children's novel at all until a friend recently recommended it to me. I can imagine that whoever has read this as a child would have been haunted by it. Marianne is a young girl who is bedridden as a result of an unspecified illness. Discovering a pencil which had belonged to her grandmother, Marianne draws a house set within a fence. That night in her dreams, she visits the house, but can't gain entry as she hasn't drawn anyone inside who is able to let her in. Awake ...more
When I read this as an 11-year old, I didn't quite fully grasp how incurable illnesses and death exist in a desperate murky no-man's-land dreamworld. Now I do. Both Marianne and myself got perspective, learnt about the floor-dropping sensation of cause-and-effect and consequences and grew up a little. It's a lovely little book about friendship, sharing and being responsible. I really like the ending because it's so positive.
Catherine Storr's Marianne Dreams is another one of those books I didn't know about as a kid, but would have liked it if I had. Published in 1958, it's definitely got its dated moments (and a heavy helping of such Britishisms as "bother," "jolly," "blasted," etc.), but it's so darn weird , it can feel timeless at other moments.The premise is that a young girl bedridden by an unnamed malady discovers that an old pencil lets her create and alter another world she can visit in dreams, and whose on ...more
I got this book from the library back in my elementary days. If I am not mistaken I was in 4th grade. I gave the book to my mom because believe me my mom is a big time book worm she reads a LOT. She has this huge cabinet full of books, novels. She read it and told me that I should read it some time because its a good story. I refused to because I thought I was too young to read a whole entire book. After seven years I was in 4th year highschool our English teacher assigned me and 3 of my group m ...more
'Marianne Dreams' is a haunting but captivating story about a young girl who is diagnosed with an illness confining her to bed. I read this book when I was about 11 years old on a plane to France , it made the time pass quickly. Up until recently , I have never been truly sure whether I enjoyed this book , however it is a story that always remained in my heart and left an impact. Recently , my sister for her drama monologue needed to choose a character in a book and create a monologue based arou ...more
Wendy Chard
This is one of those books that I read several times as a child. It takes it's inspiration from the stones at Avebury in Wiltshire (or so my mum and wikipedia both claim!) - and I suppose that's why we had it on our bookshelf, growing up. It's one of those fantastically dark children's stories, with a general air of spookiness that stays with you well into adolescence and beyond. Marianne is a frustrated, bed-ridden child with nothing to do other than to consult with her imagination. The result ...more
I was given this book when I was ten and have been reading it on and off since. This book is about a girl called Marianne that falls ill on her birthday. Due to spending alot of time in bed due to her illness she dreams alot. This book captures all the dreams that we expeirence during a fever and puts them into words.

This is a very good read and I would recommend this as a classic must read for a child between the ages of 10-13. This is a great "first novel" for children as it is an easy read bu
Apr 11, 2010 Melody rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Melody by: CLM
Where was this book when I was 9 or 10? Man, I would have adored it and read it over and over and over. Marianne is bedridden with what sound like mononucleosis to the modern ear, and she finds herself whiling away the long hours drawing with a magic pencil and visiting her drawings in her dreams. There's a boy with polio involved, and several missteps and a nearly perfect ending. This one was delicious. Thanks, Constance!
I loved this book when i was growing up. The idea that anything you drew could take on a life of its own in your dreams had me wishing so abadly that I could do the same! The film made of this - 'Paperhouse' was really well done and really brought across the dark side to it all. That i can have such a lingering memory of it after all these years is testament to its content.
It's been years since I last read Marianne Dreams, with her struggles to draw helicopters and fits of impatience and an oversupply of boiled eggs. I found it recently on my bookshelf (when I was looking for something else), and yet again, it's pulled me in and given me something to think about. I'll probably locate the sequel/s soon.
I still have the puffin edition of this book that I read 100 years ago. The way the line between dreams and reality is blurred fascinated and haunted me. I love this book. I should reread it. I'd like to revisit all the seminal books of my young reading life, and see what my impressions are now.
Now I understand why this book produced such a lasting memory for me when I read it age about 10 .... there is no way my 9 year old will be reading it any time soon!! Scary stuff.
An unusual book about a girl who is bedridden and starts drawing out of boredom - and the things she draws begin to exist and draw her into their world while she is sleeping.
Words cannot express how much I love this book.
still creepy when read as an adult. classic.
I love the premise; Marianne has just turned ten, and sick in bed she finds a pencil, and what she draws with the pencil she then dreams, but things are not always precisely as she intends them to be, and the dreams connect with the waking world in odd ways. It is a very eerie idea, and Storr uses it sometimes to good effect, but the book is not great, and it could have been, which frustrates me. It is a realistic novel with a fantastic element, and I think the realism to some extent undercuts t ...more
Joy Manne
Sep 09, 2013 Joy Manne rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Joy by: I found it in the Faber Children's Treasury
First, about the author, Catherine Storr, a doctor who worked in a hospital Department of Psychological Medicine and who was married to Anthony Storr, the psychiatrist who also was a Jungian analyst. Storr is an author is able to use the wealth of her own inner life to take us into our own deep Inner Space.

The book starts abruptly. Marianne, on her birthday, has her first horse-riding lesson and immediately falls ill with a mysterious illness and has to stay in bed. Animals are symbols for insti
Dec 21, 2011 Chie added it
Hmm Children's classics are the bees knees. Nearing my becoming an adult, I keep coming back for more books which are for younger audiences.Young adult books try too hard, and adult books are just so frigid. So here we are again. I'm tickled by this book.Clever plot and lovely characters. Simple.

My only query was of course the implied good ending...the problem being its not all written out word for word for me. I have to say to my self 'he probably would have done..." *sigh* I mostly dislike end
Rebecca McNutt
Great children's classic, with vivid and memorable characters, a dark yet beautiful dream world and the power of imagination. I can remember how much I loved it as a kid, and I recall watching a pretty good film adaptation of it called Paperhouse, as well.
Who would have thought a bunch of rocks could be eerie and threatening. This is a quick little read about a girl who is convalescing for weeks in bed who finds a magic pencil. Anything she draws with it appears in her dreams. This becomes more interesting when she meets another child in that dream.

The way Marianne is portrayed is nicely accurate. She gets angry and irritable and does things she afterwards regrets the way any seriously ill child likely would. She is no little angel. She grows to
I read this as a teenager and fell in love with it, I seem to be going through a phase of ferreting out those books I adored and this one has not disappointed. Even as a ( supposed!!) grown up I found this an engaging and intriguing story.
Long ago I came across the movie Paperhouse. It's a haunting tale of a sick little girl who draws an alternate world that she visits in dreams. There she encounters a little boy who also happens to be ill in real life. It's spooky and magical and much more enjoyable than this book.

I recently discovered that the movie was based on this book, so of course I wanted to read it. The book is described as a children's classic. It's definitely for children but the writing isn't as inventive and emotiona
Sarah Sammis
Marianne, the protagonist of the book, falls ill over the summer with an unnamed disease and is confined to bed for a number of weeks. During this time she meets a boy Mark, confined to a mysterious building and unable to walk. The only catch, Marianne only meets him through her dreams. Is Mark real? Does Marianne have control over Mark's environment?

As a children's book it's a great introduction to the horror genre. It is also beautifully (and eerily) illustrated by Marjorie-Ann Watts. The book
Interesting to see the book that inspired the film. But both are kinda boring, though the book is slightly better.
Chloe Shayler
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nen Simmons
brilliant - read in one sitting. A children's book, but a great plot.
Regarded as a classic by some people, i found this to be hugely overrated. The plot, concerning a 'magic pencil', is full of holes, the protagonist, Marianne, is irritating, the writing is sloppy at times (a character called Bridget is mentioned once in Chapter 6 who is never mentioned before or after, or even described). And how many times does the author use the word 'beastly'? A book which needed some editorial input. The third star i gave on my rating was for the sequences with The Watchers, ...more
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Author Catherine Storr was educated at St. Paul's Girls' School and went on to study English at Newnham College, Cambridge. She then went to medical school and worked part-time as a Senior Medical Officer in the Department of Psychological Medicine of the Middlesex Hospital from 1950 to 1963.

Her first book was published in 1940, but was not successful. It was not until the 1950s that her books be
More about Catherine Storr...

Other Books in the Series

The Magic Drawing Pencil (2 books)
  • Marianne and Mark (The Magic Drawing Pencil, #2)
Clever Polly and the Stupid Wolf The Mirror Image Ghost Polly And The Wolf Again The Chinese Egg Marianne and Mark (The Magic Drawing Pencil, #2)

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