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The Dream Stealer

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3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  305 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Once every generation or so, a great wolf called the Blood Prince, who not only devours bodies but also steals souls, stalks the northern forests of Russia. Rumor has it that he has set his sights on the forgettable little village of Miersk. The wolf’s evil runs so deep that past survivors refuse to believe in him, and so it is up to the newest generation, two children nam ...more
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published October 21st 2002 by Clarion Books (first published 1983)
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Sabrina
Nov 07, 2008 Sabrina rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 8 to Adult, people who like "retellings" or folklore based literature
Based on Eastern European folklore, this children's book is fantastic for all ages. I enjoyed this story much more than his "adult" fiction, of which he is most popularly know for his novel "Wicked". Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy "Wicked" and "Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister" but the "Dream Stealer" is such a nicely crafted tale. Like many "Adult" writers who dip their hands in Children's or YA fiction (Terry Pratchett most notably) paring the writing down to a simple elegance accessible to ...more
Alyssa (Books Take You Places)
Legend has it that a great wolf named The Blood Prince stalks the northern forests of Russia, biding his time before he wreaks havoc devouring bodies and stealing souls of the townspeople. The village of Miersk lies in wait, doing their best to forget the legend and hoping that by blocking the Blood Prince out of their memories, they will manage to escape his wrath. Two children from Miersk, Pasha and Lisette do not force The Blood Prince from their minds, instead they stand strong in their beli ...more
Mary Beth
This book was a pleasant surprise. Narrated in the style of a fairy tale with charming characters, bewitched creatures, and magic galore, it makes one feel like a six year old again, expecting Baba Yaga to pop out of the bushes or a house to sprout legs at any moment. While there are many humorous and fun passages, the story is also sobering as the reader is reminded that it is based on Russian fairy tales, and there is never enough to eat, not enough work, and no opportunities for betterment. T ...more
Ashley
Ages: 9-12

Plot: The village of Miersk is being threatened by a figure many thought was just a story -the Blood Prince. That is until two children, who still believe in the stories, decide to take the fate of their village into their own hands.

Assessment: This is an interesting modernization and joining of popular folktales of the Grimm genre, and it certainly sets the imagination running. I love the idea of moving a town onto a train!

This is a story that focuses on how children can make a differ
...more
Mary
The book is a retelling of a Russian fairy tale about a witch named Baba Yaga and a terrifying wolf called the Blood Prince who wants to steal the children’s dreams. The characters are cute in a one-note way that works in fairy tales; they’re villagers who can barely agree on anything, and that’s amusing. The folk characters and the type of magic come across as unique and different because most of us in the US don’t know old Russian tales the way we do Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. I mean, ...more
Jolee
This was disappointing to me. This is more because I usually LOVE Gregory Maguire's fiction geared towards adult (which tend toward more of the fractured fairy tales rather than true folklore) rather than because anything was particularly wrong with the book. In reading reviews on Amazon, I have to agree with comments that it was both "beautifully written" AND it "could not hold my interest." How does THAT work? But in seriousness, I could see this being truly scary to YOUNG readers (age 4-8??.. ...more
Erin
I've enjoyed Russian folklore and fairy tales since I took a few language classes in college, and this does not disappoint. There's nothing like a dream-eating wolf, a witch in a hut on chicken legs, and a village of both skeptics and the superstitious. Of course, it's the children who ultimately discover how to save their village. It's exciting to me to see Russian legends take form in America.
Kids who like fairy tales and fantasy will enjoy this, especially if they get into the gorier elements
...more
Anastasia
Dream Stealer is a less warped retelling than Gregory Maguire in known for; it sticks close to the Baba Yaga legends but throws in enough twists on Russian village life to stay fairly interesting. The child characters focus the narration on a familial quest rather than on a more epic tale--that, at least, is fairly common for Gregory Maguire. I've been thinking about this one since I read it and I think my disappointment with it is rooted in the lack of deviation from norm: it reads more like a ...more
Catherine Mcguire
I loved this Baba Yaga!
Kara

A Baba Yaga tale set in a vaguely 19th century Russia.

Since I've already used the word "Russia" I don't think I need to tell you that a lot of it is depressing.

However, the two young protaganists are brave despite of fear, willing to take action, and really sucked me in, hoping for a happy ending for those kids. Baba Yaga, of course, is a show stealer, and teh wolf is a delicioulsy evil villian - think Smaug in Jackson's The Hobbit.

Would love to see this story done as a Miyazaki style animated
...more
aaron
this is a solid effort from gregory maguire that is basically a fairy tale from the former soviet union. in it a young pair of children face off against the witch baba yaga of russian fame. they have to visit her in order to get her help to fend off a huge wolf/stealer-of-dreams who goes by the blood prince. they go against the wishes of their families and village and are able to meet up with baba yaga. from there it gets more interesting. good quick read...but maguire has better.
Vegantrav
I decided to take a break from my normal fare of adult fiction and nonfiction and just enjoy a good old-fashioned fairy tale. This is a delightful tale about two Russian children, a witch who is at times good and at times bad, and the frightful Blood Prince. It's a quick and easy read, and Maguire spins his story with as much mystery and magic as any of Hans Christian Anderson's or the Brothers Grimms' fairy tales.
Erin
I really liked this book. It is the first time I have read a Russian fairytale. I enjoyed the characters and the magic that this book had to offer. The language of the story lent itself well to some great visuals of the imagination, I loved picturing this story in my head. How can you avoid having fun picturing a hut running on chicken legs and talking skull stakes?!?!
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This must be a retelling of a Russian folktale, because I could swear I've read about a village being rebuilt on the flatcars of a train before. I love Baba Yaga stories, and Maguire does a great job of giving her an interesting personality, part good, part evil, part crochety old lady. A very atmospheric book. Recommended.
Chelle Sparks-Jordan
Incredible book. A more mature version of a long Fairy Tale, brilliantly written! One of my 6th graders encouraged me to read this book... I will recommend this to my boys as soon as they are old enough!

"Believe in your imaginings, frightening as they are. They may give you the courage to fight a dozen bears."
Sarah
In Russia, the Blood Prince stalks a small town, hoping to steal its inhabitants dreams and eat their flesh.

I wanted to like this because it's Maguire, but I was just not into it. Most of the time I was bored out of my mind reading. I wanted it to be over. I can't really say much more; I really didn't enjoy it.
Barbara
Wow! Worth every second spent on it. This is a short book for children but Maguire has done a terrific job weaving old tales into a new idea. This is written for children (at least that's where it's shelved in the library) but I recommend it for adults as well.
Laura
Fairy tales are a patricular soft spot for me, especially revisited ones. Not to mention Gregory Maguire is one of my favorite authors. I especially enjoyed this book because its a Russian fairy tale and I have Russian heritage. Beautiful prose as always.
Kate Harding
I thought this was a really lovely little dark children's story. I loved that it is based on real Russian fairy tales and myths. It's a fast, interesting, and magical read and I can't wait until my kids are old enough for this little gem.
Marico
I love reading stories of traditional characters, in this case Baba Yaga, reimagined by contemporary authors. Though this is a children's story, I recommend it for adults as well. It is a simple read and lovely.
Brittany
Interpretation of a Russian folktale leads to haunting story of a small town and their efforts to save themselves from certain death. A good reminder for children that all fairy tales aren't sugar and spice.
Jill
A fabulous and fun reworking of the Baba Yaga/Vasilissa the Beautiful tale. I am not, in general, a Maguire fan... but this book absolutely sparkled. A perfect fairy tale.
Bethany
A Russian tale of the Blood Prince, a very evil wolf, and a town that must face him.

The two children, Pasha and Lisette, enlist the aid of the feared witch Baba Yaga.
Beth Goodrich
I finished this book within a day or two and had a hard time putting it down. I really enjoyed the variation on old fables made new. A very nice book to read.
Christina
I just couldn't get into this particular book. It sounded neat, but it couldn't keep my attention.
Annie
Aug 26, 2008 Annie added it
i kinda lost intererst among my other books... i only read a few chapters, so i have no review.
Barbie
Such a fun, charming story that will surely tear you up at the end, but in a good way.
Caroline
Interesting story revolving around the Russian folktale figure Baba Yaga.
Ana
Great story with Baba Yaga. A quick read. Entertaining for all ages.
Whitney Wilfong
Sinister in a delightful way that echoes the original Grimm's tales.
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Gregory Maguire is an American author, whose novels are revisionist retellings of children's stories (such as L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz into Wicked). He received his Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Tufts University, and his B.A. from the State University of New York at Albany. He was a professor and co-director at the Simmons College Center for the Study of Children' ...more
More about Gregory Maguire...
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (The Wicked Years #1) Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister Son of a Witch (The Wicked Years #2) Mirror Mirror A Lion Among Men (The Wicked Years, #3)

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