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A novel "as haunting as a dream" from the New York Times-bestselling, Newbery Medal-winning author of The Giver (Kirkus Reviews, starred review). Where do dreams come from? What stealthy nighttime...
A novel "as haunting as a dream" from the New York Times-bestselling, Newbery Medal-winning author of The Giver (Kirkus Reviews, starred review). Where do dreams come from? What stealthy nighttime...
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  • A novel "as haunting as a dream" from the New York Times-bestselling, Newbery Medal-winning author of The Giver (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).

    Where do dreams come from? What stealthy nighttime messengers are the guardians of our most deeply hidden hopes and our half-forgotten fears? This imaginative novel confronts these questions and explores the conflicts between the gentle bits and pieces of the past that come to life in dream, and the darker horrors that find their form in nightmare.

    In a haunting story that tiptoes between reality and fantasy, two people—a lonely, sensitive woman and a damaged, angry boy—face their own histories and discover what they can be to one another, renewed by the strength that comes from a tiny, caring creature they will never see.

    "Lyrical, richly descriptive prose ushers readers into a fascinating parallel world inhabited by appealingly quirky characters."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
    "A beautiful novel with an intriguing premise."—School Library Journal (starred review)

Reviews-

  • DOGO Books readwriter - Lois Lowry did it again! This colorfully-written book tells about the life of a little dream-giver and that of an elderly woman and a boy in foster care. The things I felt and thought felt real and I felt as though I was in the book. I felt like I'd known the characters for years and I knew them like the back of my hand. This book is a five-star story through and through. Very good!
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 6, 2006
    Lowry's (The Giver
    ) spellbinding story centers on a clever, curious young dream-giver. Littlest One is learning the nocturnal task performed by her kind, which entails gently touching objects belonging to a human, thereby gathering "memories, colors, words once spoken, hints of scents and the tiniest fragments of forgotten sound" and combining them to create dreams. The most challenging task she must master is to "bestow" the dream on a sleeping human. Under the tutelage of a caring, patient elder, Littlest begins to hone her skills in the home of a lonely 73-year-old woman who takes in John, an angry, unhappy foster child. Through Littlest's gathering process and John's resultant dreams, as well as through the dreams of John's estranged mother, Lowry poignantly reveals the boy's sad past. Some of the novel's most moving scenes center on the growing trust between John and his foster mother, as his bitterness and low self-esteem begin to abate. Littlest demonstrates her tenacity and talent when she successfully counters the curse of the four-legged Sinisteeds, renegade dream-givers who have been "consumed by the dark side" and who inflict powerful nightmares on their victims, including John. Lyrical, richly descriptive prose ushers readers into a fascinating parallel world inhabited by appealingly quirky characters. While she gathers fragments, Littlest demonstrates an unusually delicate touch that enables her to gain deeper insight—a gossamer touch that earns her the name in the title. With her exquisite, at times mesmerizing writing, Lowry displays a similar skill. Ages 10-up.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from May 1, 2006
    Gr 4-7 -Readers first meet the dream-givers as they creep around a dark house in the middle of the night where an old woman and a dog named Toby are sleeping. -Littlest was very small, new to the work, energetic and curious. Fastidious was tired, impatient, and had a headache. - Littlest is soon paired with a new partner, Thin Elderly, who is a much better guide and teacher than Fastidious was. They are benevolent beings who visit humans (and pets, too) at night. They handle objects, gather memories, and give them back in the form of happy dreams that comfort and help those they -re assigned to. The dream-givers - counterparts are the strong and wicked Sinisteeds, who inflict nightmares and sometimes travel in frightening Hordes. And the humans that Littlest and Thin Elderly care for do need help and protection from bad dreams. The old woman is lonely and has taken in a foster child named John, who -s living apart from an abusive father and the fragile mother who desperately wants him back. Lowry -s prose is simple and clear. This carefully plotted fantasy has inner logic and conviction. Readers will identify with Littlest, who is discovering her own special talents (her touch is so sensitive and delicate that she is renamed Gossamer). John, who starts his stay in the house with anger and violence, will draw a special kind of sympathy, too. Lowry acknowledges evil in the world, yet still conveys hope and large measures of tenderness. While not quite as compelling as "The Giver" (Houghton, 1993), this is a beautiful novel with an intriguing premise." -Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL"

    Copyright 2006 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    February 15, 2006
    Gr. 5-8. Littlest One is a delicate, invisible spirit who is in training to be a dream-giver, learning to blend fragments of happy memories with fragile details of daily life for people as they sleep. She helps a tormented foster child at night, bestowing healing memories in his dreams. He remembers a button, a broken seashell on a shelf, a book left open, images that fight the sinister Hordes that torment him with nightmares of his father's vicious abuse. Lowry's plain, poetic words speak directly to children about the powerful, ordinary things in everyday life, such as the boy's memory of a baseball game ("the curved line of stitches on the ball and then the high thwacking sound of the hit"); the feel of his dog's silky, warm fur; and the thump of the dog's tail against the floor. Pair this fantasy with Valerie Worth's " All the Small Poems " (1995) and with Katherine Paterson's realistic novel, " The Great Gilly Hopkins" (1978), about an abused child in loving foster care. (Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2006, American Library Association.)

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    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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