Gossamer

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Gossamer Book Poster Image
Abused kid gets otherworldly help; magical enough.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 14 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

A magical plot lines allows for the delicate discussion of nightmares and child abuse. 

Violence

A man hits his wife and child, pushes the child's face into the floor, and forces him to eat dog food.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

A video game console mentioned.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults smoke and drink.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that while nothing is described graphically, there are clear references to child abuse.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byhellotim April 9, 2008

Gossamer

i would recommend this bok to ages 8-12 becasue it is a good story and it has a good moral. your child might need a little bit of help reding this book but the... Continue reading
Adult Written bydfgh April 9, 2008

the best book ever

this was a 5 star book
Teen, 13 years old Written byMr.Bubbles April 9, 2008
Teen, 14 years old Written byPoison Ivey January 3, 2009

pretty good, actually

it was a good book, in my opinion. I can't understand why common sense media only gave it three stars. I felt bad for the boys mom, because she loved her... Continue reading

What's the story?

There are dream-givers, who haunt our homes each night, collecting scraps of memories from our belongings and then bestowing them on us as dreams. There are Sinisteeds, who are former dream givers turned dark, who inflict nightmares, and sometimes attack in Hordes.

And there is an angry boy, taken from an abusive home and placed in foster care with a lonely old woman. The old woman needs the strength to help the boy, his mother needs to pull her life together to get him back, and the boy has become the focus of a Horde. The only help available to any of them are a very young dream-giver-in-training and her elderly mentor.

Is it any good?

This is an oddly magical little story from the author of Number the Stars (about the Holocaust) and The Giver (about a dystopian society). But it's oddly compelling as well, and kids -- especially those having trouble with dreams and sleeping -- might be enchanted by the image of the sweet little dream-givers and their battles with Sinisteeds.

The juxtaposition of this sweetly reassuring part of the story with the serious abuse that the boy has endured is a bit jarring, though author Lois Lowry handles it delicately. Still, a child sensitive enough to revel in the dream-givers might need some adult explanation of how a father could do these kinds of things to his child.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the role of happy and unhappy memories in prompting dreams and nightmares, and can also use the plot as a launching pad to discuss the concept of dreams. 

  • What purpose do dreams serve -- and can they strengthen you? 

  • What are some of the best and worst dreams you've ever had? 

  • Do you have any recurring dreams? 

  • What do you think they mean?

Book details

For kids who love lyricism

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