The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan ~ Drawing by Peter Sis

by Guest Blogger M.O.M.


Every once in a while a book finds its way to you that  is a surprise. A shock. You don’t expect the story to move in a particular direction. To do what it does. You are taken by surprise at how much emotion the book arouses in you. You put it down at the end and need to sit still and keep the magical place it has created for you. It moves you. And sometimes you just have to re-read it again. Straight away. There is something about the world inside the book that you just can’t leave.

The Dreamer was one of these books for me. Sitting on the shelf of’ “New Arrivals” in the library its quiet, dreamlike cover seemed to offer an invitation. I had no idea about the story. Or the language. Or how much I would love this book.  I suppose the clue should have been the opening poem –

“I am poetry,
waiting to seize the poet.
I ask the questions
for which all answers exist.
I choose no one.
I choose every one.
Come closer…
…if you dare.”

Ahh, this is writing that beckons you with that curled finger saying “come here. try me”.

Neftali is a boy unlike others. He sees words before him, he is enchanted by them. “The twos and threes lifted from the page and waved for the others to join them. The fives and sevens sprang upward, and finally, after much prodding, the fours, ones, and sixes came along. But the nines and zeros would not budge, so the others left them.” How can you not love this writing?
His life is a struggle. His father  strikes fear in everyone around and ridicules and controls his life. His fearful stepmother who struggles to give him comfort and love and tries to bring joy.  He stutters, is fearful of the taunts of other children and has watched as his older brother’s dreams and talents are destroyed by his father. How can he stop from being crushed? And what becomes of him?

Pam Munoz Ryan has written one of the most enchanting books I have read. This is not a big book, the print is quite large, and so with few words she is able to create such a world full of magic. She weaves the story with words, poetry and images to take the reader to another place. This is great writing. And the delicate drawings by Peter Sis make it all the more special. Weaving literary fact, fiction, poetry and magic this is a book to read. If you love words, if you love poetry, if you are a dreamer –  run, don’t walk to your library and borrow this book and read it.