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Awake and Dreaming

Awake and Dreaming

4.8 19
by Kit Pearson

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Theo has always dreamed of belonging to a real family. Her dream seems to come true when she is mysteriously "adopted" by the warm Kaldor clan. For the first time, Theo has brand new clothes, things of her own, security, and good friends. But, as time passes, the magic of Theo's new life begins to fade--really fade. In fact, Theo herself is


Theo has always dreamed of belonging to a real family. Her dream seems to come true when she is mysteriously "adopted" by the warm Kaldor clan. For the first time, Theo has brand new clothes, things of her own, security, and good friends. But, as time passes, the magic of Theo's new life begins to fade--really fade. In fact, Theo herself is vanishing....

"Deftly weaves fantasy and reality together into a charming novel...Intriguing from start to finish." --School Library Journal

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The combination of her own desperate wishes and a dead writer's fantasy propel the nine-year-old heroine into a dream world--or does it? Ages 8-12. (June) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Alexandria LaFaye
Telling the story of Theo, a young dreamer who lives her life through her favorite books, Pearson takes a new approach to the ghost story. Theo dreams of escaping her life of poverty and neglect while the wandering spirit of an under-appreciated children's author seeks out the story she can never write. These two dreamers cross paths and make Theo's dreams come true. With a sometimes overly sentimental view of reading, poverty, and the realm of possibilities, this book take a fresh approach to the ghost tale and provides a compelling view of one girl's desire for a better life. The plot twists are unique, the characters are often surprising, and the examination of seeking wish-fulfillment verses making a commitment to building life changes is compelling.
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Reading and daydreaming protect nine-year-old Theo from the realities of her impoverished life. Her single mom Rae's series of low-paid jobs keep them moving in and out of dingy apartments and homeless shelters, with Theo constantly changing schools. Rae makes Theo dance for money on the sidewalks of Vancouver, often leaves her alone, doesn't feed, clothe, or bathe her properly, and is sometimes abusive. When Rae takes up with a new boyfriend who doesn't like children, Theo is forced to move in with an aunt she doesn't know. It is on the ferry boat ride from Vancouver to Victoria that Theo's dream life takes over. She suddenly becomes a member of the perfect family she's always wished for. Theo is completely accepted by the Kaldors at home and by the kids at school...until Theo fades out! It turns out that this experience is a blending of her fantasy and that of a ghost named Cecily, who was a writer in real life. This long book is a unique mixture of ghost story, fantasy, and problem novel that should appeal to avid young readers. Its special insights into a writer's imagination should also inspire young writers-to-be. 1999 (orig. 1996), Puffin Books/Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, Ages 9 to 12, $13.99 and $4.99. Reviewer: Carol Raker Collins—Children's Literature
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7Wishes can come true, temporarily at least. Nine-year-old Theo desperately wants to be out of her gray, loveless existence and into the middle of a large and happy family like the ones she reads about in her wonderful library books. Often neglected by her young and immature mother, she is still reluctant to leave their Vancouver apartment and go to live with her aunt in Victoria. On the ferry trip, Theo makes a wish on the new moon and is amazed when it comes true. She wakes up as part of the perfect family, with nurturing and always happy parents and four caring siblings. Now she doesn't have to dance for money on the street or worry that her mother doesn't want her. But of course, it is too good to be true, and the magic doesn't last. While her real life isn't perfect like when she was "awake and dreaming," things are changing for the better and Theo is learning to be happy. Pearson deftly weaves fantasy and reality together into a charming novel much like Sylvia Cassedy did in Behind the Attic Wall (HarperCollins, 1983). Even minor characters are well developed, and this story is intriguing from start to finish. A mysterious ghost is carefully woven into the plot and into the resolution, but the focus of the book remains on Theo's very real concerns and emotions. As readers cheer for the child's happiness, they may also learn from her determination.Leigh Ann Jones, Carroll Middle School, Southlake, TX
Kirkus Reviews
Theo, nine, has not had a gentle life. The joys of clean clothes, a warm bed, and enough to eat are elusive, and her too-young, borderline-abusive mother provides little emotional support or structure. Theo escapes via daydreams and voracious reading ("she remembered that the ugliest books in school libraries were often the best ones"). The heart of the book, set in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia, is an awkwardly constructed fantasy sequence that places Theo in the center of a large and affectionate family, the Kaldors. When the dream ends, Theo finds the family—less idealized, with no answering memory of her—and also finds the ghost of the writer, who once lived in the Kaldor house, and who has an explanation for Theo's experiences "awake and dreaming." While parts of the tale are clumsily drawn, Theo's longings are unmistakably clear, and the shaky shifts in point of view won't matter to readers, for this is a real page-turner.

Pearson (The Lights Go On Again, 1994, etc.) has some lovely notions about the relationship between dreams and reality, the value of friends and family (however flawed its members), and the acts of reading and writing as talismans of hope.

From the Publisher
"This is not a 'quiet' book. It is noisy with the most important kinds of struggle, because you and I face them every day: the quest to find our place in the world, to belong to a family and group of friends, to be loved." - Kenneth Oppel

"Pearson's gift is to always write straight from the inner well of childhood feeling." - Toronto Star

Product Details

Penguin Canada
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.80(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Kit Pearson, who has been honored with many major literary children's book awards in her native Canada, lives in Vancouver.

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Awake and Dreaming 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was amazing.... it had a great plot and it was the best book i have read in a verrrrrrrrryyyy long time..... it ended up happy in the end but sad in the beginning...... this story is about a poor girl named theo that ends up in a family that is fairly rich and very nice unlike her mother...... LOVE this bok i would FOR sure reccomend this for you
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
i loved it. we did a project with it in school and i have not seen the book in stores but its my favorite
Guest More than 1 year ago
it was a mazing book it took a while for me to put it down!!!!. i cryed when i had to send it back to the liberary..!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you don't have a stomach for a scary ghost story...you're not intended to like this. It's very slow, boring and eery. You might like it but I didn't.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is probably the best book I've read in a while. I used to, and I still am, be a fan of Harry Potter... But this was GREAT! Now I'm in to Kit Pearson too. I recommend this book to everyone who hasn't read it already.
Guest More than 1 year ago
You have to read this book.I's great!Seriously.I'm someone who hates books and I love this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! It just shows what can happen if you want it enough. I loved it and would recommmed this book to anyone who enjoys a real page-turner!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Awake and Dreaming rocks. When i saw the novel I thought it would be bad but actually its the best.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This Book Really Pulled Me Into The Story. It's awsome and Realistic!
Guest More than 1 year ago
HEY This book is the best. I reallllly like it. My friends recommed it to me but i thought it was gonna be BORING but i couldnt put it down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best book I have ever read. It had alittle bit of everything. I got so into the story that I also felt like I was living with the Kaldors, Ray, or Sharon when ever she was. It had a very good ending, probally the one you would least expect. Awake and Dreaming is a mix of reality and fantasy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a very attention grabing book that really shows people the other side of the story. An inperfect life on the streets. Magical descriptions and vivid detail bring this fantasy tale to life with a bang. A very good read that is enjoyable many times through. But be prepared... You may never put it down!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Whether awake or dreaming, this is a fantastic book. I loved it. When my friend first recommended this book to me, I said that it would be stupid. But, man, was I wrong. It was such a good book, that I have read it this book many times. You'll love it. I recommend this book to anyone that likes a good read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
we started reading this novel in class .... but I couldn't resist. I had to take it home and finish it.....
Guest More than 1 year ago
Awake and Dreaming was one of the best novels i have read this year. It kept me locked on it with my eyes not wanting to shut. It is sad and yet cruel at parts, but then again, alot of books are like that! If you buy this book, we guarentee you won't want to take your eyes off it. You'll want to read this book rather than to watch boring old television. Kit Pearson is an excellent aurthor and she came to my daughter's school. 'Another magical tale from the master' - The Toronto Star. 'Spellbinding... This is one book that must be read to be believed.'-Books in Canada. Buy this book and you won't regret that you bought it. You, your kids, your entire family will enjoy this amazing story about a little girl living in a dream about a family. Thanx and I'm out!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the most amazing book ever. I did not like reading fantesy books. I read this book and I loved it. It is the best book because it involves fantisy and real life. I love that mixture. I soon began to talk and think about theo like she was a real person. The book is to good for words to say. It is truly the pirfect book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i loved this spellbinding book about a girl named Theo who wants to live with a real family with brothers and sisters. i think you all should read this book
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a story of a nine year old girl named Thoe who spends all of her time reading and dreaming in her run down apartment building with her 25 yer old mother Rae. She lives Vancouver, Ca. and enjoys dreaming about the 'perfect family.' Her mom is a young, pretty waitress. Although she may yell occasionaly she is normally nice. When her boyfriend asks her to move in with her, she accepts. But he doesn't want Theo. So she goes and lives with her aunt in Victoria, Ca. On the ferry ride there, Rae goes to the deck to smoke. While she is gone, Theo falls into a DEEP sleep. It must have been because she was in this dream for months! In this dream, she meets her dream family.