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The Dreamer

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  6,095 ratings  ·  1,087 reviews
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 fools. Against all odds, Neftali prevails against his father's cruelty and his own crippling shyness to become one of the most ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Scholastic Press (first published January 1st 2010)
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Hannah I know this sounds obvious, but Neftali was my favorite. This is because he is really relatable to me, being a dreamer myself.
Pink He mainly wanted them to have practical jobs. He references doctors, dentists, and teachers to name a few.

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,095 ratings  ·  1,087 reviews

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Müni (MuenisBookWorld)
Nov 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Lars Guthrie
Aug 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 11, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kids
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
Casey Strauss
May 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
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
May 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
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.
Mar 15, 2011 rated it liked it
"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
Pranav Barath
Apr 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 17, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Linda Lipko
Jan 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Q-Laura Zarate
May 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Jul 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
May 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: j-fiction
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
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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

Oct 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Cindy Dobrez
Feb 15, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 04, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Melody
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.
Abby Johnson
Mar 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: blogged
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.
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.
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!
Mar 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
2011 Belpré Author Award winner Fictionalized bio of Neruda's childhood. Beautiful writing combined with excerpts from his poems. Beautifully designed book too.
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Something I truly enjoy it is the story of Pablo Neruda a famous poet what New York Times said as hypnotic text extraordinary art
Best book ever!!!!!!
May 29, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars Cute story based on the childhood of the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.
Jan 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sweet on Books
Dec 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reader-sr, melissa-g
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
Jamie Short
Apr 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: multi-cultural
Text to self: I love Pam Munoz Ryan and her writing. She creates vibrant characters and lives that are so authentic and real. I found this on the Pura Belpre award list, which is won in 2011. This book is no exception to reality of characters, especially since it is based on the life of poet Pablo Neruda. It is a gripping story of Neftali growing up with a father who wants his children to be educated instead of having to claw their way to a good life, but goes about it in an emotionally, verball ...more
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My review 2 6 Apr 30, 2017 02:17PM  

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Pam Muñoz Ryan is the author of the New York Times Best Seller, ECHO, a 2016 Newbery Honor Book, and winner of the Kirkus Prize. She has written over forty books for young people—picture books, early readers, and middle grade and young adult novels. She the author recipient of the NEA's Human and Civil Rights Award, the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award, the Willa Cather Award, the Pura Belpré meda ...more

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“Which is sharper? The hatchet that cuts down dreams? Or the scythe that clears a path for another?” 12 likes
“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.”
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