December 20, 2010

The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan, illustrated by Peter Sis

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 11:54 pm by suebe2

The Dreamer

by Pam Munoz Ryan

illustrated by Peter Sis

(AR 4.6)

I am so glad that I saw a recommendation on this book.  Ryan has created a fictionalized tale based on the childhood and adolescence of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.

Think this doesn’t sound like a topic with great kid appeal?  Think again.  Neruda as a child is definitely someone that a lot of children will identify with, because:

  • He was very small.
  • He was interested in things that his father thought were ridiculous.
  • He very much wanted to be loved and to love his father.
  • He noticed things that went completely unseen by the adults around him.
  • He spent a lot of time in his imagination.

Neruda loved to observe the outdoors — the flash of beetles, the soaring flight of birds, the roar of the ocean.  He took care of a wounded swan, collected every little thing from the natural world that he could lay his hands on, and connected deeply with his uncle the editor of a militant newspaper (they supported Native rights).

This book will appeal to reluctant readers if they can get past its size — 372 pages.  Yes, that’s long.  But the font size is huge for a book for this audience and it has  illustrations between chapters.

Neruda was an avid reader, which might put reluctant readers off, but they will love how at odds he was with many of the adults in his life and often with his older brother.

Young poets will love the samplings of his poems and anyone who reads this will find themselves going to the library catalog to request some of his work.

Share this with the young reader in your life.  If you make it a read aloud experience, they’ll know you are more like Neruda’s step mother and, coming from a book-loving Mom, that’s a good thing since she was a book lover too.

Take a chance on a book that might be outside of what you are familiar with because you won’t regret it.



  1. I really like the way you presented this book as a potential read for reluctant readers, because when I read it myself, I didn’t not think of this and you are absolutely right…. the themes you pointed out would absolutely resonate with boys. Such a great post and thanks for sharing your wisdom!

    • suebe2 said,

      And thank you for your list! so much great info on your blog.

  2. ps I included The Dreamer on a list that I wanted to share with you

    Top 10: Best Latino American Children’s Books at

  3. […] The Dreamer by Pam Muñoz Ryan, illustrated by Peter Sís (Scholastic Press).  Read my review here. Honor: ¡Olé! Flamenco written and illustrated by George Ancona (Lee &Low Books Inc) The […]

  4. Suko said,

    What a wonderful review! I hope you don’t mind that I linked to your review in my post. I just found out about this book today in the newspaper. 🙂

    • suebe2 said,

      Dear Suko,
      I don’t mind at all. Thank you for the link as well as the kind words!

      • Suko said,

        You are most welcome. 🙂

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