Daydreamer

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"Peter Fortune is a dreamer . . . [and here are seven of] his fabulous daydreams. Each is a separate adventure, [among them] taming a bully and catching a burglar, and young readers should have no trouble empathizing with his escapades. A delightful blend of serious whimsy and hilarious gravity."—SLJ. "How would it feel to swap bodies with a cat, with a baby, with a grown-up? To be those creatures and still have your ten-year-old consciousness? British author McEwan writes a simple, visual prose––comic, deadpan, and lyrical––that captures the
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The Daydreamer

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Overview

"Peter Fortune is a dreamer . . . [and here are seven of] his fabulous daydreams. Each is a separate adventure, [among them] taming a bully and catching a burglar, and young readers should have no trouble empathizing with his escapades. A delightful blend of serious whimsy and hilarious gravity."—SLJ. "How would it feel to swap bodies with a cat, with a baby, with a grown-up? To be those creatures and still have your ten-year-old consciousness? British author McEwan writes a simple, visual prose––comic, deadpan, and lyrical––that captures the physicalness of [this] wild fantasy."—BL. "A rare find." —VOYA.

1995 Notable Trade Books in the Language Arts (NCTE)
Best Books 1994 (SLJ)
100 Titles for Reading and Sharing (NY Public Library)

Author Biography: Ian McEwan received the Somerset Maugham Award for his first collection of short stories, FIRST LOVE, LAST RITES. This was followed by another collection, In BETWEEN THE SHEETS and the novels The Child in Time; The Cement Garden; The Comfort of Strangers, which was nominated for the Booker Prize and is now a major motion picture; The Innocent, soon to be a major motion picture starring Anthony Hopkins; and most recently, Black Dogs. Mr. McEwan lives in Oxford, England with his wife and their four children.

An imaginative ten-year-old boy, who is best understood by his family, recounts some of the adventures he has while daydreaming.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Most grownups think that 10-year-old Peter Fortune is a difficult child because he is so quiet, but through his daydreams he learns to see the world from numerous points of view. In a starred review, PW said, "McEwan's vivid and poetic writing reveals a profound understanding of childhood." Ages 8-up. (Dec.)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Most grown-ups think Peter Fortune is a difficult child because he is so quiet: they ``knew that something was going on inside that head, but they couldn't hear it or see it or feel it. They couldn't tell Peter to stop it, because they didn't know what it was he was doing in there.'' Actually, he is involved in one of his great adventures: exchanging bodies with his ancient pet cat, battling a troop of dolls come to life, making his parents disappear with a vanishing cream or discovering what it is like to be an adult falling in love. Through his daydreams, Peter learns to see the world from numerous points of view. He is the only boy at school, for example, who can recognize the weaknesses of a bully and feel compassion for him. In his first book for children, McEwan ( The Comfort of Strangers ; The Child in Time ) dextrously presents a series of strange and wonderful metamorphoses. His vivid and poetic writing, celebrating the creative abilities of a gifted 10-year-old, reveals a profound understanding of childhood. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 8-up. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Peter Fortune, 10, is a dreamer, and not everyone understands that. He has the usual problems with teachers who think he can't do his schoolwork when he's really just been too busy dreaming up ways to save the world. However, the focus of this book is not on the boy's troubles but rather on his fabulous daydreams. Each of the seven stories following the introduction is a separate adventure, probably occurring mostly in Peter's imagination but including an unusual twist to link it to a real situation. The mood is similar to Edward Eager's Half-Magic (Harcourt, 1954). Even though the magic is presented as real in that book and as imagination here, the connections to reality leave readers feeling that something out of the ordinary has happened, even if it is not stated as such. Peter's adventures include trading bodies with his cat, taming a bully, catching a burglar, and even waking up in the dreaded world of grown-ups, and young readers should have no trouble empathizing with his escapades. Less able readers may find the descriptive writing style a real challenge, but would enjoy hearing the stories read aloud. Brown's illustrations, one per chapter, capture the eeriness of the selections. A delightful blend of serious whimsy and hilarious gravity.-Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA
From the Publisher
"A shivery, prickly joy".  --The Globe and Mail

"A classic." --The Financial Post

"Mr. McEwan at his best." --The New York Times Book Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060530150
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/7/2002
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Pages: 208
  • Age range: 8 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.62 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Ian McEwan
Ian McEwan is the bestselling author of more than ten books, including the novels The Comfort of Strangers and Black Dogs, both shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Amsterdam, winner of the Booker Prize, and The Child in Time, winner of the Whitbread Award, as well as the story collections First Love, Last Rites, winner of the Somerset Maugham Award, and In Between the Sheets. He has also written screenplays, plays, television scripts, a children’s book, and the libretto for an oratorio. He lives in London.

Biography

One of the most distinguished novelists of his generation, Ian McEwan was born in England and spent much of his childhood traveling with his father, an army officer stationed in the Far East, Germany, and North Africa. He graduated from Sussex University in 1970 with a degree in English Literature and received his MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia.

McEwan burst upon the literary scene in the mid-1970s with two short story collections that highlighted with equal clarity his early predilection for disturbing, somewhat shocking subject matter and his dazzling prose style. Similarly, his 1978 debut novel, The Cement Garden, attracted as much attention for its unsettling storyline as for its stylistic brilliance. But even though his early work was saturated with deviant sex, violence, and death (so much so that he earned the nickname "Ian MacAbre"), he was never dismissed as a mere purveyor of cheap thrills. In fact, two of his most provocative works (The Comfort of Strangers and Enduring Love) were shortlisted for major U.K. awards.

As he has matured, McEwan has moved away from disquieting themes like incest, sadism, and psychotic obsession to explore more introspective human dramas. In an interview with The New Republic he described his literary evolution in this way:

"One passes the usual milestones in life: You have children, you find that whether you like it or not, you have a huge investment in the human project somehow succeeding. You become maybe a little more tolerant as you get older. Pessimism begins to feel something like a badge that you perhaps do not wear so easily. There is something delicious and reckless about the pessimism of being 21. And when you get older you feel maybe a little more delicate and hope that things will flourish. You don't want to take a stick to it."
Among many literary honors, McEwan has been awarded the Somerset Maugham Award for First Love, Last Rites (1976) and the Whitbread Prize for The Child in Time (1987). Nominated three times for the Booker Prize, he finally won in 1998 for Amsterdam. He has also received the WH Smith Literary Award and National Book Critics' Circle Fiction Award for Atonement (2001) and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Saturday (2005).

Good To Know

While developing the Harry Perowne, the neurosurgeon in Saturday, McEwan actually spent a year observing a neurosurgeon at work, which included time spent in the operating theater.

Although he is known principally for his novels, McEwan has also brought his vision to the screen as writer of the films The Ploughman's Lunch (1983) and Soursweet (1988).

Hollywood loves McEwan. Film adaptions of his novels include The Cement Garden, The Comfort of Strangers, The Innocent, Enduring Love, and Atonement.

McEwan is no stranger to controversy. In 1999, his first wife kidnapped their 13-year-old son.The child was returned and McEwan awarded sole custody. His ex-wife was fined for "defamation" of McEwan's name.

In 2002, Ian McEwan discovered that he had a brother born from an affair between McEwan's parents that occurred before their marriage and given up for adoption during WWII. Since their relationship has come to light, McEwan and his brother have met frequently and forged a friendship.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Ian Russell McEwan
    2. Hometown:
      Oxford, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 21, 1948
    2. Place of Birth:
      Aldershot, England
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of Sussex, 1970; M.A., University of East Anglia, 1971
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

ChapterOne



Introducing Peter



When Peter Fortune was ten years old, grown-up people sometimes used to tell him he was a difficult child. He never understood what they meant. He didn't feel difficult at all. He didn't throw bottles at the garden wall, or tip ketchup over his head and pretend it was blood, or slash at his granny's anklewith his sword, though he occasionally thought of these things. Apart from all vegetables except potatoes, and fish, eggs, and cheese, there was nothing he would not eat. He wasn't noisier or dirtier or more stupid than anyone he knew. His name was easy to say and spell. His face, which was pale and freckled, was easy enough to remember. He went to school every day like all other children and never made that much fuss about it. He was only as horrid to his sister as she was to him. Policemen never came knocking at the front door wanting to arrest him. Doctors in white coats never offered to take him away to the madhouse. As far as Peter was concerned, he was really quite easy. What was difficult about him?

It was not until he had been a grownup himself for many years that Peter finally understood. They thought he was difficult because he was so silent. That seemed to bother people. The other problem was he liked being by himself. Not all the time, of course. Not even every day. But most days he liked to go off somewhere for an hour -- to his bedroom, or the park. He liked to be alone and think his thoughts.

Now, grown-ups like to think they know what's going on inside a ten-year-old's head. And it 's impossible to know what someone is thinking if they keep quiet about it. People wouldsee Peter lying on his back on a summer's afternoon, chewing a piece of grass and staring at the sky. "Peter. Peter! What are you thinking about?" they would call to him. And Peter would sit up with a start. "Oh, nothing. Nothing at all." Grownups knew that something was going on inside that head, but they couldn't hear it or see it or feel it. They couldn't tell Peter to stop it, because they did not know what it was he was doing in there.He could have been setting his school on fire or feeding his sister to an alligator and escaping in a hot-air balloon, but all they saw was a boy staring at the blue sky without blinking, a boy who did not hear you when you called his name.

As for being on his own, well, grownups didn't much like that either. They don't even like other grown-ups being on their own. When you join in, people can see what you're up to. You're up to what they're up to. You have to join in, or you'll spoil it for everyone else. Peter had different ideas. Joining in was all very fine in its place. But far too much of it went on. In fact, he thought, if people spent less time joining in and making others join in, and spent a little time each day alone remembering who they were or who they might be, then the world would be a happier place and wars might never happen.

At school he often left his body sitting at its desk while his mind went off on its journeys, and even at home daydreaming could sometimes get him into trouble. One Christmas Peter's father, Thomas Fortune, was hanging the decorations in the living room. It was a job he hated. It always put him in a bad mood. He was wanting to tape some streamers high in one corner. Now, in that corner was an armchair, and sitting in that armchair doing nothing in particular was Peter.

"Don't move, Pete," said Mr. Fortune. "I'm going to stand on the back of your chair to reach up here."

"That's fine," Peter said. "You go ahead."

Up onto the chair went Thomas Fortune, and away in his thoughts went Peter. He looked like he was doing nothing, but in fact he was very busy. He was inventing an exciting way of coming down a mountain quickly using a coat hanger and a length of wire stretched tight between the pine trees. He went on thinking about this problem while his father stood on the back of his chair, straining and gasping as he reached up to the ceiling. How, Peter wondered, would you go on sliding down without slamming into the trees that were holding up the wire?

Perhaps it was the mountain air that made Peter remember he was hungry. In the kitchen was an unopened box of chocolate cookies. It was a pity to go on neglecting them. just as he stood up, there was a terrible crash behind him. He turned just in time to see his father fall headfirst into the gap between the chair and the corner. Then Thomas Fortune reappeared, headfirst again, looking ready to chop Peter into tiny bits. On the other side of the room Peter's mother clamped her hand across her mouth to hide her laughter.

"Oh, sorry, Dad," Peter said. "I forgot you were there."

Not long after his tenth birthday Peter was entrusted with the mission of taking his seven-year-old sister, Kate, to school. Peter and Kate went to the same school. It was a fifteen-minute walk or a short bus ride away. Usually they walked there with their father, who dropped them off on his way to work. But now the children were thought old enough to make it to school by themselves on the bus, and Peter was in charge.

It was only two stops down the road,, but the way his parents kept going on about it, you might have thought Peter was taking Kate to the North Pole. He was given instructions the night before.

The Daydreamer. Copyright © by Ian McEwan. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 15 )
Rating Distribution

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(13)

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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2004

    I loved it

    It was great I loved it. I read it when I was ten and it has stayed in my mind ever since. the main character's daydreams became mine with that book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2001

    If you daydream a great book!!!!!

    From reading this book it made me think a lot about what a little 10 year old boy daydreams about. Its a very interesting book to read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2000

    Smile from ear to ear!

    I loved this book. It made me think about all the daydreaming I do. Although my daydreaming isn't always as fascinating as Peter's! If you want an adventure and a laugh this is a MUST READ. I have 9 and 11 year old cousins and I just can't wait to read 'The Daydreamer' to them! It had me smiling from ear to ear!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2000

    Fabulous -- a MUST READ

    Peter Fortune is a quiet boy, but his active imagination, revealed in his daydreams, yields fascinating tales with perceptive insights. Each chapter can stand alone as a story. Right now, I'm reading it as a parent visitor in my fourth-grader's library period, chapter by chapter. The kids seem to love it. But don't be fooled; it's as much for grownups as for kids.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2013

    Spiritfury's bio

    Hi i am spiritfury i am a white shecat with blue and black spots. I am 22 moons old and i love to hunt. Oh and my eyes are grayish green

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2013

    Forestfire &hearts UPDATE &hearts

    Name: Im Forestfire. I perferr Forest. Gender: I am a tom, and proud. Pelt: The base color of my coat is greyscale brown. Markings: Look up chicken smoothie malk wolf and go to the archive. The first of the orange grey and yellows is my pattern. Eyes: Look into my blazing amber eyes.... Personality: meet me and kniw me! Kits: my kits are Bravekit Bearkit Polarkit and Brackenkit. Mate: my mate is Snowfur. Crush: One who has a kate does not usually have a crush that is different. Family: I have no family other than Treeflower, my sister. History: I was nearly killed as a kit. My mom died giving birth, and my father died defending her before I was born. My sister, Treekit, joined blazeclan and left. A year later, we both joined. I was soon exiled, and Snowfur followed me by choice. We started FrostClan, and it was torn apart within the week. We came here after that. Siggy: none. Too random.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2013

    Venomstars bio

    STATUS: VERY DANGEROUS
    NAME: VENOMSTAR
    HISTORY: DEAFEATED BLOOD CLAN
    CLAN NAME: VENOMSTRIKE CLAN
    CLAN STATUS: UNKNOWN
    LIKES: CLAN BATTLES
    MOTTO: THIS BATTLE............WILL BE MY MASTER PIECE.......
    ENEMY CLANS: THUNDER CLAN AND RIVER CLAN
    FRIENDLY CLANS: SHADOW CLAN

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2013

    Whisperwillow's Bio

    NAME: Whisperwillow.
    <br>AGE: 25 moons.
    <br>RANK: Warrior.
    <br>APPEARANCE: Sandy beige pelt with tan paws and golden flecks along her spine, pale green eyes. She is smaller in stature but lean.
    <br>PERS: That depends on you.
    <br>APPRENTICE: Sliverpaw.
    <br>MATE: None.
    <br>CRUSH: Sort of.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2013

    Honeyfern

    Gender: Tom Pysical description: pelt is the color of honey and eyes are green. Strong and thoughtful. Personality: please get to know me.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2013

    Silverpaw and Spottedpaw

    Name:Silverpaw. Type:warrior apprentice. Mate:none. Crush.none. Description.silver with a white stomach and long sharp dagger like claws. Eyes.blue. Other.often desived by her looks. Exact image of her momther yet acts like her father. <p> Name.Spottedpaw. Type.med cat apprentice. Mate.none. Crush.none. Description.tortoiseshell with a white belly and tail tip. Eyes.blazing green. Other.sweet hearted yet can fight and hunt. Same claws as Silverpaw. Same image as her father yet acts like her mother. <p> Update later.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2013

    Xffgjcyfgtvh

    LVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    READ NOW!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2000

    The book was exallent when I read it I fell in love with the book

    You wouldn't belive how good it was. I told my friends to read it and they loved it. All the stories in it came alive wehn I read it.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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