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

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 14 reviews

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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. 


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


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 byaistemrv December 12, 2018
Adult Written bydfgh April 9, 2008

the best book ever

this was a 5 star book
Teen, 14 years old Written byHannah528 August 17, 2018

Great book

I loved this book because it made me look at an everyday thing like dreams differently. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy or makebelie... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byCherry*Bomb November 27, 2011

Fun, just don't do a report on it!

This book is pretty good, when I was in 6th grade, we did a book report on it. The book itself was very good, but the report made it tedious and dry, but I lear... 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love lyricism

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