Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Dreamer

Neftali? Who spoons the water from the clouds to the snowcap to the river and feeds it to the hungry ocean? (p. 9)

The author, Pam Munoz Ryan, in the book, The Dreamer, writes a fictional tale about the famous Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda born Neftali Reyes. The above quote  is Ryan's attempt to imitate Neruda in his book titled, The Book of Questions. The Dreamer shows Neftalia's difficult childhood growing up with a domineering father who detested his daydreaming and desire to be a poet. Neftali was a sick, painfully shy child who had overcome these obstacles to reach his dream of being a poet.

The writing in the book is beautiful and Peter Sis has illustrations that add to the richness of the story:  He heard only the thudding of retreating footsteps, a clumping of footfalls on wooden stairs, and a swollen door yelping shut. Ryan imitates Neftalis poetry of looking deeply at objects throughout the story: He heard a rustling inside a rotting log and bent to peek inside. A gigantic horned beetle scurried from beneath the leaves. At first Neftali jerked back, but then he bent closer to watch it hiss. He had never seen a beetle so big or fierce-looking. (p. 99) He then pretends or deams that he climbs onto the beetles back and rides it like a horse.

This book is written like no other book I have read. The illustrations and poetry weaved together like a tapestry; inseparable from the rest of the story.

Reading Level 5.3

:-) :-) :-) :-) :-) 5 Smileys

1 comment:

  1. I love this book! Of course it is about a young poet, Pablo Neruda, and I love poetry so I guess that makes sense that I would love it. But beyond that, it is well-written with dollops of poetry whipped into the story of young Pablo's life. It is a fictionalized biography--an interesting genre--that Kathryn Lasky also uses with her picture book about Georgia O'Keefe. The research has been done and is extensive but it is woven into a fiction story. I feel like I know what it was like for him growing up and why he may have chosen the path he did. It appears to be thick and daunting but the reading flows along so smoothly that you aren't slogging through it. I think it might get the nod for the Newbery and the Caldecott. Has that ever happened I wonder? It is well worth your time to read The Dreamer.