Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New books: The magic world of dreams

Dreams are a place where many things can happen to us, and where reality can seem an upside-down world. Here are books about the world of dreams, some silly and some serious, but all exciting. Look for copies using the Amazon and WorldCatalog search boxes here on BookBag, and be ready for a nighttime of adventure!

The Dream Stealer, by Sid Fleischman; illustrated by Peter Sís (Greenwillow Books) Fantasy. Zumpango is a Dream Stealer. It's his job to capture children's nightmares, but he's sick of dealing with scary monsters and has begun to steal happy dreams instead. One night, however, Zumpango steals an especially good dream from a brave and clever young girl named Susana --and Susana decides to get her dream back. This whimsically illustrated story is a little bit funny, a little bit scary, and a whole lot of fun to read.

The Glitch in Sleep, by John Hulme and Michael Wexler; illustrated by Gideon Kendall (Bloomsbury Children's Books) Fantasy. Months after he filled out a very unusual job application on a whim, nine-year-old Becker Drane was taken to The Seems, the secret place where everything about the world as we know it (including Nature, Weather, Time, and Sleep) is manufactured. Now Becker is 12 and has become a full-fledged Fixer, and he's got a whopper of a problem for his first assignment: a glitch in Sleep has created an insomnia epidemic that, left unchecked, could mean the end of reality altogether. If you enjoy fast-paced, suspenseful fantasies with great world-building and plenty of puns, give this first volume in the Seems series a try.

Philippa Fisher and the Dream-Maker's Daughter, by Liz Kessler; illustrated by Katie May (Candlewick Press) Fantasy. In this follow-up to Philippa Fisher's Fairy Godsister, nearly-12-year-old Philippa has won a vacation for herself and her parents to the destination of their choice. But they can't decide where to go ... until a butterfly lands on their spread-out map at the spot marked Ravenleigh Woods. As it turns out, the butterfly is Philippa's fairy godsister in disguise, and this time around, she's got a job for Philippa to do. Weaving plenty of magic into its story, as well as a serious look at the importance of dreams, this friendship tale is a compelling, ultimately upbeat read.

Gossamer, by Lois Lowry (Houghton Mifflin) Fantasy. Littlest One ("Littlest" for short) is a dream-giver in training. At night, she practices the art of gathering memories and impressions and blending them into dreams, which she and other dream-givers bestow on humans with a touch. When the old woman to whom Littlest has been assigned takes in a deeply unhappy foster son, Littlest must learn how to fight the evil Sinisteeds who cause the boy's horrible nightmares. Gossamer is a hopeful story of healing and magic that tackles a serious issue in a sensitive, poetic way.

The Song of the Whales, by Uri Orlev; translated by Hillel Halkin (Houghton Mifflin)
Fiction. Nine-year-old Michael doesn't have any friends his own age. He prefers the company of adults -- which is fortunate, since he and his parents are moving from New York to Israel to be closer to Michael's ailing grandfather. Michael bonds almost instantly with his Grandpa and later learns that Grandpa has an amazing gift: the ability to share his dreams with others. Beautiful writing, lavishly imagined dream-time adventures, and a quietly moving story make The Song of the Whales a good bet for fans of Kathi Appelt's similarly magical-yet-realistic The Underneath.

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