A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
A magical plot lines allows for the delicate discussion of nightmares and child abuse.
Violence & Scariness
A man hits his wife and child, pushes the child's face into the floor, and forces him to eat dog food.
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Products & Purchases
A video game console mentioned.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults smoke and drink.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that while nothing is described graphically, there are clear references to child abuse.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.