The Dream Stealer

( 1 )


There is a bandit who comes in the night. He does not want pretty silver earrings or dangly gold necklaces, not diamonds or rubies.

What does he want?

Listen, I will tell you.

He wants dreams.

He is supposed to take only nightmares—the ...

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There is a bandit who comes in the night. He does not want pretty silver earrings or dangly gold necklaces, not diamonds or rubies.

What does he want?

Listen, I will tell you.

He wants dreams.

He is supposed to take only nightmares—the dreams of monsters and phantoms—but he's grown scared. He's been taking the good dreams instead.

But one night he steals from the wrong girl.

Susana is clever. She is wily. She is brave.

And she wants her dream back.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The duo behind the 1987 Newbery winner, The Whipping Boy, reunites for this whimsical tale that mixes fantasy and reality to heal a broken friendship. Susana fights with her best friend just before Consuelo Louisa moves to Guadalajara. Lonely and sad, Susana dreams of a happy reunion, but her reverie is interrupted when the Dream Stealer—charged with rounding up monsters and demons from nightmares so people can sleep—makes off with the blissful scene. Determined to get her dream back, clever Susana traps the Dream Stealer and forces him to fly her to the castle where the botherations he's lassoed from dreams are kept under lock and key. Fleischman's rich prose and understated humor make for easy reading; the loss of a friend, a magical journey to set things right and an empowered heroine are emotionally right on target for the audience. Sís's full-page b&w drawings often render Susana incongruously passive, but his depictions of the rest of Fleischman's oddball cast are livelier and the overall effect is a handsome package. Ages 9–up. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Suzanna E. Henshon
In The Dream Stealer, the notable author-artist team of Sid Fleischman and Peter Sis reunite to create a tale filled with adventure, exotic characters, and mystery. Susan, age eight, lives in a Mexican town where stars flash like fireflies. Late at night a bird-like visitor flies through the town, carrying away nightmares; the dream stealer is best known for clearing children's imaginations of ogres, zombies, and other dreadful creatures. When he visits Susana, the dream stealer takes away a vision of Consuelo Louisa, Susana's best friend, who recently moved away. To Susana's horror, it appears as if her friend will suffer a grave injury—and that there is no resolution to the situation. Susana is also worried that Consuelo Louisa will forget their friendship after moving to the city. So Susana follows the dream catcher to his castle home in the hopes of recovering the dream he stole. To Susana, he is not a magical creature; he is a bandit. He should just stick to stealing nightmares. Susana sails through the wind to the dream catcher's castle. There she meets demons, ogres, and other horrible creatures. Finally the little girl finds her dream and reunites with her best friend, Consuela Louisa. Young readers who enjoyed the Newbery winning novel, The Whipping Boy, will find this book a suitable companion read. Reviewer: Suzanna E. Henshon, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 2–5—Basing a story on a carved Mexican figure, Fleischman weaves a short tale around a Dream Stealer, Zumpango, who perches outside windows waiting to snitch nightmares from sleeping children. Scared by some of the critters he has lassoed, he starts taking happy dreams. But he hasn't reckoned with Susana, who wants back her interrupted dream of a happy reunion with a friend with whom she has had a fight. She tricks Zumpango into flying her to his lair to take back the dream. There she faces down and outfoxes the nightmare creatures (some borrowed from folktales) and agrees to be Zumpango's new friend if he will leave her good dreams alone. When she is returned home, a phone call from her old friend provides a cheerful end. Sís's ink drawings feature just the right mix of surreal, funny, scary, and reassuring images (but sharp readers will note that while the text has the Dream Stealer escaping an ogre feet first through a narrow window, the illustration shows him stuck head first). Set within a loving Spanish family, the tale twinkles with Fleischman's signature crisp language and laugh-out-loud wordplay. All in all, it's a quick, unique read that's sure to give young chapter-book readers shivers, laughs, and satisfaction.—Susan Hepler, formerly at Burgundy Farm Country Day School, Alexandria, VA
Kirkus Reviews
So slender and slight it feels light enough to float from your hands, Fleischman and S's's latest chapter-book collaboration supplements their previous Newbery-winning pairing, The Whipping Boy (1987). Lonely little Susana desperately misses her old best friend, who recently moved away from their small Mexican town. Worse still, when she has a dream that seems to show her friend in danger, Susana finds it immediately stolen by the magical, rude, chili-chomping Dream Stealer. Incensed, Susana insists on being reunited with her dream. So begins a journey to the Dream Stealer's castle, as well as a run-in with a couple of nightmarish characters who have vowed revenge against their colorful captor. The author breathes life into this Mexican-flavored world with a storytelling manner that's teasing and intriguing by turns. This good-natured whimsy is complemented beautifully by the one-of-a-kind pen-and-ink drawings. Sweet and silly, consider this slim bedtime fare that lingers long after the tale is told. (Fantasy. 6-11)
Booklist (starred review)
“This fanciful, original tale drawn from Mexican lore…will delight children, as will the narrator’s expertly modulated storyteller’s cadence. Sís’ black and- white illustrations include inventive design elements that reinforce the sense of real and imagined worlds overlapping.”
Book Links
“The range of fanciful inventions . . . in this fanciful, original tale . . . will delight children.”
"This fanciful, original tale drawn from Mexican lore…will delight children, as will the narrator’s expertly modulated storyteller’s cadence. Sís’ black and- white illustrations include inventive design elements that reinforce the sense of real and imagined worlds overlapping."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061755644
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/25/2009
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 96
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 610L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Sid Fleischman wrote more than sixty books for children, adults, and magicians. Among his many awards was the Newbery Medal for his novel The Whipping Boy. The author described his wasted youth as a magician and newspaperman in his autobiography The Abracadabra Kid. His other titles include The Entertainer and the Dybbuk, a novel, and three biographies, Sir Charlie: Chaplin, The Funniest Man in the World; The Trouble Begins at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West; and Escape! The Story of The Great Houdini.

Peter Sís is an internationally acclaimed author, artist, and filmmaker. Among his works are three Caldecott Honor books: The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain; Tibet: Through the Red Box; and Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei. He has illustrated five other novels by Sid Fleischman, including the Newbery Medal book The Whipping Boy. He lives with his family in New York State.

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Read an Excerpt

The Dream Stealer

Chapter One

Muchachos and muchachas, boys and girls, do you know what happened to the fearless little girl who lives in the pink stucco house behind the plaza? Fearless, but lonely. Lonely, but plucky. Do you believe in marvels?

After a long, hot day, the sun dropped behind a prickly clump of cactus without scratching itself. Then a warm night fell over the Mexican town, soft as velvet, with stars flashing like fireflies.

Bedroom windows were flung open to the evening air. Soon it would be time for Susana to go to bed. Yes, that was her name. Susana. With one n. Eight years old.

Unknown to her, Susana had a night visitor. Outside, a great bird with big feet was flying in as silently as an owl. It circled the pink house.

After a long journey, the strange creature came to rest on a limb of the old pepper tree in the patio of Susana's house.

A bird, did I say? Yes and no. Its wings and feathers flashed orange and red polka dots like bloodshot eyes—and green spots and purple ones, too. You'd think the night visitor had the allover measles. Now, think of teeth as sharp as broken crockery. And a full moon of a face, with cunning eyes protruding like a frog's.

An ogre? A monster? What could it be, hanging in the pepper tree like a great piñata?

I'll tell you. Be patient.

The Dream Stealer. Copyright © by Sid Fleischman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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