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Based on 1 parent review
June 23, 2010
Lovely for a few; limited appeal for most
Very well written and presented, with exceptionally appropriate and evocative illustrations for the story. The story flows very well between regular text, some sound effects in special fonts, the illustrations of the story itself, and illustrations of Neruda questions. I also must compliment the book's successfully educational side, introducing readers to themes in Neruda poems, background in his interests, and providing a picture of a different time and life style. However, I suspect it will only appeal to kids of a certain sensibility. For kids who don't themselves feel ecstatic, mystic communion with nature, or find insight via Zen/Sufi/Neruda style questions, the story may feel primarily negative as Neruda's father is relentlessly oppressive. So while some kid readers may find this book speaks directly and powerfully to them, many other kids will likely find the story boring and baffling. Some books with semi-related themes that I consider more generally accessible would be: "The Man in the Ceiling" by Jules Feiffer (the struggles of an artist as a child with his own limitations, a father who doesn't understand, and critics -- plus it has an uncle mentor), or "Steinbeck's Ghost" by Lewis Buzbee (magical realism, the power of art/writing, and finding a mentor) -- though neither of those books incorporates nature as a healing, nurturing influence in the way of "The Dreamer". For age recommendation, for the "right" reader this could go younger (9 or 10?) -- the sole area of concern is the emotional cruelty of the father -- but in terms of appeal, 12+ may be more likely to appreciate it.