Monday, April 4, 2011
The Dreamer, written by Pam Munoz Ryan and illustrated by Peter Sís, is a fictionalized coming of age story based on the childhood of Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda. The double-spaced, large text and flowing illustrations will appeal to upper elementary and middle school readers. The story reads like a parable. The story opens with a sickly Neftali (young Pablo) in bed. Neftali’s head is filled with so many thoughts; it takes him to faraway lands. His harsh father accuses him of daydreaming and insists that he will amount to nothing if he doesn’t build up his strength. Neftali loves to collect things – including words. For many years, his father berates Neftali’s aspirations. No matter the situation, Neftali disappoints his father. Pam Munoz Ryan’s depiction of Neftali’s hopes and dreams is eloquent. Adolescents who have been belittled because they are different or because they have different interests will be able to relate to this story. Other wonderful books by Pam Munoz Ryan include Esperanza Rising, Becoming Naomi Leόn, Riding Freedom, and Paint the Wind.