The Dreamer - Audio Library Edition
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The Dreamer - Audio Library Edition

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  2,926 ratings  ·  647 reviews
A breathtaking novel from Pura Belpre Award winner, Pam Ryan, and MacArthur fellow and three-time Caldecott Honoree, Peter Sis!

Neftali finds beauty and wonder everywhere: in the oily colors of mud puddles; a lost glove, sailing on the wind; the music of birds and language. He loves to collect treasures, daydream, and write--pastimes his authoritarian father thinks are for...more
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Scholastic Audio Books
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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...more
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.
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...more
Jan 07, 2011 Carol rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Neruda fans, poets, artists, anyone who appreciates a beautiful book
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...more
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...more
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...more
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.
Nicola Mansfield
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...more
Jessica Harrison
Review via the Deseret News
Neftali is a dreamer. He has been for as long as he can remember. Where some see an old boot or a pile of sticks, he sees a story and new places. His imagination is always working, and it drives his father nuts.

While Neftali finds beauty in the wonder of words and books, his father is looking for the practical. He wants Neftali to become a doctor. But to accomplish that, Neftalí must become robust — something he definitely is not.

Neftali is cripplingly shy and stutters...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
Opinion: This was book was just ok in my opinion. It was a bit hard to follow at times, and the time line goes to fast for me. It jumps so often, and I felt many story lines were left unanswered. You never learn if he finds friends, why he is sick, does he ever connect with his father, etc.? I felt for the characters, but I never felt like I connected with them.

Grades: 4+

Summary: The Dreamer is a fiction work based on the life of poet Pablo Neruda's. His story is told in verse, pictures, anecd...more
L13 Tracy Beling
Just finished this book and I absolutely loved it!! So beautiful! The imagery and figurative language are amazing. The words truly paint a picture. The illustrations are just as insightful. As an intermediate teacher, I tend to look at the content of a book and its lesson first. Here we have a child that is constantly aware of his father's expectations for him, but has no idea what to do with the fact that he has expectations for himself. Of course, he doesn't want to disappoint his father, but...more
The Reading Countess
I found it difficult tagging this book to the appropriate bookshelves, thanks to Munoz Ryan's wonderful mixture of genres. MR's wide knowledge of the famed Pablo Neruda's life and works allows her to weave both truth and fiction into this whimsical and heartbreaking tale. The Dreamer, mentioned by Betsy Bird as a possible Newbery contender last month, reads like a love letter to the famous poet.

I see many possibilities in the classroom with this instant classic. Character's growth and change ov...more
The Dreamer is an amazing collaborative effort that perfectly blends the poetry of Pablo Neruda with the writings of Pam Munoz Ryan and art of Peter Sis. It is a story based on the youth of the famous poet Pablo Neruda as he discovers who he is and what his role in life will be. This story is full of hardships and struggles that educate the reader to the politics and philosophies of life in Chili at that time. This is a wonderful glimpse into the struggle of freedom of speech and the role of gov...more
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...more
Sweet and sad, this description of the childhood of Pablo Neruda draws extensively from biographical and autobiographical sources to create a very probable and lifelike representation of the poet as a boy. I read it in about two hours, since, despite its heft, it is a very quick read, and is interspersed with illustrations. I wasn't wild about the stylized pictures, they felt somehow too childish for the subject matter, as though they belonged in a different book. While The Dreamer is meant to b...more
Pam Munoz Ryan tells an interesting tale based on the life of young Neftali Reyes, a Chilean boy who defies the odds to become a world-famous poet (Pablo Neruda) and to receive the 1971 Nobel Prize for literature. It is written for upper elementary students. Boys will appreciate his love of nature and always going outside to find something interesting. Boys and girls will enjoy Peter Sis' illustrations, which have a fantasy style to them and emphasize the idea that Neftali daydreams a lot. Reade...more
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...more
This book is fabulous and if it does not at least win a nomination for the Newbery in 2010 I will be surprised. Beautifully lyrical in quality and tone. This semi-biographical novel about Pablo Neruda's younger years reminded me of Chaim Potok's "My Name is Asher Lev". Neftali is constantly in his own world relishing the beauty of everyday things and trying to capture the delight of words and language. His father thinks such things are rubbish and is constantly tormenting his two artistic sons t...more
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...more
Audience: Intermediate
Genre: Fantasy
Discussion Questions:
Remembering: What are two objects that Neftali collected? (I would further elaborate on this question and ask why he collected those items or why do you think he did since some did not say explicitly?)
Understanding: Explain why the this book is titled the way it is. Provide examples from the text to support your understanding.
Applying: How is the scene with Mr. Swan similar to the fire scene at La Manana?
Analyzing: What motive is there to...more
I will start by saying I am a huge fan of Pablo Neruda, Pam Munoz Ryan and Peter Sis so I am fairly biased. I thought this book was beautifully told with much to ponder and reap. It gives a fictionalized account of what Munoz Ryan imagines Pablo Neruda's childhood might have been like as a creative and artistic boy under the watch of a brutal, pragmatic father. this is intended for a young adult audience, but I feel it is one of those cases in which while the protagonist is a young adult, the au...more
Peggy Gay
Audience: Intermediate
Genre: Historical fiction
Remembering: What was in the trunk that Neftali was told to never touch?
Understanding: Can you explain why Father was so controlling of his children, especially Neftali?
Applying: What words would you have written in the sand to describe Neftali, when he wrote the words his father used for him like idiot, dim-witted and worthless?
Analyzing: What is the relationship between Neftali and his collections?
Evaluating: What are the pros and cons o...more
Kimberly Wees
Audience: 3rd grade to 5th grade readers interested in dreams and aspirations.

Appeal: This is a great book that teaches kids the importance of following their dreams no matter what. The boy in this book has all the odds against him, but still prevails in the end. His father tells him that his writing is bad and that he will never aspire to anything in life, but he shows him and everybody else that he and anybody can do anything they want. This is a great book that every kid will enjoy but also...more
Ashlee Christians
This book is from the 2011 America's Award.

The audience is older middle school to high school readers because there are over 300 pages to this book. All though the print is larger and makes this read a little bit easier, I still would say it would be a bit difficult for elementary children to read and understand. This book is very appealing even without colorful pictures because it tells a story of a young Pablo Neruda and how he sees, hears, and feels poetry all around him at such a young age....more
Beautifully written and illustrated book that tells the tale of young Pablo Neruda, one of my all time favorite poets. His father calls him a daydreamer, absent-minded and worse--words he writes in the sand and watches the waves erase them letter by letter. He obviously puts his nasty father in his place by going on to receive the Nobel Prize for literature in 1971. "I am poetry, surrounding the dreamer. Ever present, I capture the spirit, enslave the reluctant pen, and become the breath of the...more
Neftali is, and always has been, different—he sees the beauty in everyday objects (like pinecones and stones) and his imagination takes flight at the slightest whim. Neftali’s father dislikes these behaviors very much and discourages his son from reading too much or from writing—and Neftali is a very gifted writer.[return][return]Neftali, living in Chile during a time of extreme civil unrest, siphons all of his emotional confusion and pain into dreams and writing. Even when his father burns all...more
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A former teacher, she lives in Leucadia, California with her family.
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“Pablo Neruda's poems tramped through the mud [with the fieldworker]...knocked at the doors of mansions...sat at the table of the baker...The shopkeeper leaned over his counter and read them to his customers and said "Do you know him? He is my brother."

The poems became books that people passed from hand to hand. The books traveled over fences... and bridges... and across borders... soaring from continent to continent... until he had passed thousands of gifts through a hole in the fence to a multitude of people in every corner of the world.”
“Which is sharper? The hatchet that cuts down dreams? Or the scythe that clears a path for another?” 4 likes
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