A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
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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?
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