A Book Review: Gossamer

The Newbery Award winning author, Lois Lowry, presents a fictional story that shows the importance of our memories and how dreams and nightmares are created. The protagonist, Littlest One, is the assigned dream-giver to John, who is being fostered by an elderly lady while her mother is sorting out her life. He is an angry boy and his anger aggravates his vulnerability to the attacks of the foul Sinisteed, a big force with horse-like behavior that dream-givers are most afraid of. The Sinisteed causes nightmares. Littlest is not only a new dream-giver but she's tiny and fragile. Can she save John from the Sinisteed? 

Lowry is an award-winning author of several best selling books including The Giver, The Willoughbys, and Number the Stars. Gossamer was a Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award Nominee in 2008 and  Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award Nominee in 2009. 

My Thoughts 

I enjoyed this book very much. Although it’s a short read, it is full of delightful details about the world of dream-givers, their role in people’s lives, and their method of giving dreams. Littlest One is fun, inquisitive, and brave. Her curiosity and confidence pushed her to go beyond what she was asked for even though she’s a neophyte. Her traits make her likable. 

The elderly woman plays an important role in the character development of the dream-givers-- Fastidious, Thin Elderly, and Littlest One-- and John. Through her possessions, the dream-givers demonstrated how they capture the memories attached in these things and how they make these memories into dreams. On the other hand, her wisdom, understanding, and gentleness allowed John to express his anger and shocking ideas. She didn’t give up on him even though he’s quite a handful. 

The story is narrated using different perspectives in a continuous flow that is easy to follow, revealing the themes of finding hope, conquering the unknown, and acceptance, which balance out the heaviness of another theme of the story-- domestic abuse. In her novels, Lowry is known for tackling serious topics such as racism, human greed, and war which she set against the backdrop of the fictional world she created, a world with a unique culture and social system. In this middle-grade book, Lowry once again exhibited her adeptness at world-building and characterization. 


Discussion Questions

1. Who are the main characters of the story?

2. What do dream-givers do?

3. List the things that you like about Littlest One.

4. What were the things that the Littlest One needed to learn?

5.Describe John’s first day at the old woman’s house?

6. Why do you think John is an angry child?

7. How did the woman deal with John?

8. Describe John’s family. 

9. What are the different themes of the story?

10. Do you think the book is appropriate for middle schoolers? Why  or why not?

Further Information

Title: Gossamer

Author: Lois Lowry

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher ‏ : ‎ HMH Books for Young Readers (April 24, 2006)

Publication Date: April 24, 2006

Print length: 147 pages