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Marianne Dreams

(The Magic Drawing Pencil #1)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  1,272 ratings  ·  130 reviews
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 called Mark, and his every movement is guarded by the menacing stone wa ...more
Paperback, 179 pages
Published 2000 by Faber and Faber (first published 1958)
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Saturnberry In the movie called "Paperhouse," based on the book, the doctor tells Anna she has Glandular Fever, Mononucleosis. This sheds some light on some chall…moreIn the movie called "Paperhouse," based on the book, the doctor tells Anna she has Glandular Fever, Mononucleosis. This sheds some light on some challenges the children have in the dream world. (less)

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Average rating 4.14  · 
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 ·  1,272 ratings  ·  130 reviews


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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. This classic, reminiscent of stories like Skelig and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, is timeless and magical and unlike any other.
Joanne Harris
The latest in my season of re-readings of classic children's books. It's been a long time since I first read this one, but it still packs a punch: it's well-written, dark and in places, genuinely chilling - those whispering stones always freaked me out as a child, and they still do. The characters are marvellous; well-drawn and quite without sentimentality: I especially love the fact that illness makes them both so cranky and unpleasant - it reads as a deliberate challenge to the "saintly invali ...more
Manybooks
So the basic premise of Catherine Storr's Marianne Dreams is that when the main protagonist, that when young and boisterous Marianne is confined to her bed for many weeks due to a rather serious illness (and while the exact nature of Marianne's malady is never clearly stated, I have always wondered whether it might be a case of rheumatic fever) to ward off her boredom and frustrations at having to remain not only inside but actually firmly bedridden, Marianne passes her time drawing pictures (bu ...more
Jane
Apr 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Catherine Storr's 1958 novel Marianne Dreams is one of those classic children's stories that passed me by, but luckily I spotted a Puffin copy from the 1970s, I picked it up, I thought it looked lovely, and so I brought it home.

It was lovely, it was spooky, and it was the kind of book that brought out the child who loved books inside me.

Marianne is confined to bed with an illness that will keep her their for several months. Bored, she starts to draw to pass the time, using an old pencil she foun
...more
Kinga
Jan 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Helen
Shelves: pub-1958
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
...more
Mariel
Nov 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Philip Jackson
Dec 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
yengyeng
Sep 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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!
...more
Melody
Mar 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
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!
Kimberly
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
...more
Hilary
Marianne is convalescing after an illness when she finds a pencil that she draws a house with. Later when she dreams she visits this house and discovers that what she draws with the pencil in her waking life will appear in her dreams.

The watching stones are a fun, scary addition to the story and we enjoyed the coming together of the two childrens lives and their escape. The illustrations are good too.
Sabrina
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: booktails
My favourite book as a child. Re-read many times.
When Marianne gets ill and confined to bed rest, she discovers a magic pencil. Whatever she draws, appears in her dreams that night. But is she creating her dreams or is there more to it than that?
I was so happy to find I still enjoyed this book after so many years, though the language was a little old fashioned. Not disappointing even after so much time.
Kay
Oct 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, children
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.
rosamund
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: disability
Marianne discovers that she can manipulate her dreams by using a pencil she finds in her great-grandmother's sewing basket. Marianne is recovering from a long illness, and through her dreams she meets Mark, who has polio. As a child, I found this book frightening: the world Marianne discovers in her dreams is chilling and populated by malevolent figures. What struck me on this reread is the nuanced portrait of illness and disability, and the genuine fear that the children will not survive. It's ...more
CLM
Sep 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jo
This is maybe the creepiest children's book I've ever read - the stone watchers are terrifying. 1958 was pretty hardcore, apparently.
Mathew
I'm never disappointed with Storr! I don't want to give anything away only to say that Storr's story style is wonderful as is he use of language. The story starts off all light and enjoyable but it isn't long before the tale takes a dark and sinister turn. Such a great story with both a strong male and female protagonist who combat not only their fears but their illnesses too. Some may find the language date but I thought it added real charm.
Eli Connors
Charming and whimsical yet deeply profound. It reminded me of a more kid-friendly version of Mandy and Alecto or Yesterday's Doll. ...more
Liz
Apr 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Louise / Daisy May Johnson
There are some books you know - or at the very least, think that you know - before you get anywhere near to reading them. Bridge to Terabithia is one for me, and Marianne Dreams is - was - another. I thought I knew it, I thought I understood it, I thought I recognised its place within the world and then, at last finding a copy, I read it and realised I understood nothing. (I especially did not understand how any child reading it could ever draw anything again after reading it, but that's by the ...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
A strange, uncomfortable little read. I enjoyed the "real life" sections much more than the "dream" sections, in part because--how does Marianne become responsible for getting Mark better, getting him out of bed, forcing him to work at his physiotherapy exercises? Why should the girl have to do it all, only to end up waiting to be "rescued" by the boy? She does do it all, from the drawing itself to spending enormous amounts of time planning how to provide everything for Mark from food to enterta ...more
Melissa
May 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens
I liked this book, but think it's the kind of children's book that is really much better to read as a child :) I liked that the kids seemed like actual children in their conversation, actions, and thoughts. The story was less fantastical than I was expecting. A good book that I think my children will enjoy.
Contrary Reader
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is every bit as sinister as I remember. It has that ambiguity that marks its dread all the more effective. And unlike some older books, it’s story holds up. For once a reread of an old favourite didn’t disappoint
Shell Louise
Jan 09, 2020 rated it liked it
All my book reviews can be found on my blog http://www.shelllouise.co.uk ...more
Cassandra
Nov 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: genre-ya
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
Methodtomadness
Aug 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
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
Teycordero
Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Joy Manne
Sep 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
F
Jun 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'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
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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

Other books in the series

The Magic Drawing Pencil (2 books)
  • Marianne and Mark (The Magic Drawing Pencil, #2)

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