book review

Ready to Celebrate Poetry Month with The Dreamer?

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I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to share The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan with you for National Poetry Month. The Dreamer is an invitation into the imaginative world of Pablo Neruda. Pablo Neruda is one of my favorite poets !! The Dreamer has allowed me to share my love of this poet with my children as we wander through his world and life in Chile.

the-dreamer

It is a tale of day-dreaming, gathering those little items which catch our eye, while guarding and savoring them into a collection of our childhood. Pam Munoz Ryan does an incredible job of weaving facts into an incredible story of magic, nostalgia, and intrigue. Pablo Neruda’s real name was Neftali Reyes. He had a very stern and unbearable father. Protecting him were his step-mother, uncle, and sister. Along with everyday situations in his household and school, we are invited on wandering journeys to the rainforest where Neftali’s imagination is taken away by all of the fauna, insects, and animals which live in the forest.

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Another trip takes us to the ocean where Neftali meets a librarian who gives him his hide-out for the summer. This turns into a spectacular adventure with his sister of trying to save a swan. Later Neftali learns of the movement to kick indigenous people out of their homeland from his uncle. As he grows, he takes up the cause to protect them. Making sure that he doesn’t seek the wrath of his father, he uses a pseudonym. His new last name Neruda was derived from a poet from Czechoslovakia.

One of the elements that makes this book such a treasure to read and hold are the simple but powerful illustrations of Peter Sis. His contributions to this magical story gives us a look into the world of a poet through the heart and eyes.

The Dreamer 1

Equally as interesting is Pam Munoz Ryan’s telling of what inspired her to write this story. Also in the back are several beautifully selected poems of Pablo Neruda’s. This book is a poetic magical tale that is sure to inspire all of us to look at those simple things around us with the eye of a poet. Life is for living and experiencing and this book is an invitation to do just this.

Something To Do

A Word Box

In the story The Dreamer, Neftali Reyes loves to collect things. One of his most beloved collections are his words. Writing them on a piece of paper, folding it gently , and then placing it in his drawer; Neftali can return anytime he wants to and remember the words that caught his imagination. Let’s remember our friend Neftali by making a word box.

word box

Supplies:

  • One unfinished wood or paper mache box found in a craft store.
  • Scrapbooking word stickers
  • Mod Podge matt finish
  • Brush
  • Paper

Instructions:

  1. Taking your wooden box and the word stickers, put words all over your box in a design of your choosing.
  2. Once you’ve finished sticking your words on the box, brush Mod Podge all over the words and let it dry.
  3. You can use any kind of paper. We like to use paper with pretty colors on one side but white paper works just fine. Cut little pieces of paper that fit into your box. Start writing your favorite words down and saving them in your word box.

Beautiful Spanish Words

The Dreamer uses a beautiful mix of English and Spanish. I liked the way the Spanish was woven throughout the story without it being distracting. Each Spanish word followed with it’s English meaning. By using the Spanish language in this way, it brought the essence of Chile into the story.

Here’s a Spanish lexicon from The Dreamer. Be sure to write these words on colorful cards and put them into your word box.

  • Adios:: Good-bye
  • el viento:: the wind
  • Porfa :: Please
  • buena suerte:: good luck
  • mapuche:: indigenous people in Aranucania
  • Bravo:: Good Job
  • la empanadas y el bistec:: Potato turnovers and steak
  • Aqui Estoy:: I am here.
  • El pan amasado:: Home made bread
  • futbol:: soccer
  • Amigo:: friend
  • un escondite:: a hideout
  • una chismosa:: a tattletale
  • Amor:: Love

Poetry Explorations

In The Dreamer author Pam Munoz Ryan poses many questions to get us thinking in words. Let’s look at those questions and write a short poem about the Wind. Remember when Neftali’s hat and gloves gotten blown away by the wind. What do these questions inspire in you ?

  1. What does the wind give ?
  2. What does the wind take away?
  3. Where is the storehouse of lost and found ?

Let’s experience Time through words. By answering the following questions you can experience time in a new way. Write a little poem about time.

  1. What is the color of a minute? A month ? A Year ?

Reader’s Theater

A great way to instill active reading in our young readers is to practice in a Reader’s Theater setting. Set for four voices, author Pam Munoz Ryan has created this Reader’s Theater edition to her book The Dreamer.

I’d like to know…..

Have you read this book? If so, share your thoughts and comments below!

 

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