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Without a doubt, Lois Lowry's books stand out when compared with some of the other fare on contemporary bookshelves --- and thankfully Lowry has been recognized for it. In 1990, she won her first Newbery Medal for NUMBER THE STARS, a fictionalized account based on the true story about a group of Christians in Denmark who saved their Jewish neighbors from persecution during World War II. She received her second Newbery Medal in 1994 for THE GIVER, probably her most well-known book to date. Now her audience can experience the joy of reading the much-lauded GOSSAMER in paperback --- a book that is so beautifully written and so poignant in message that its glowing reception from booksellers, media outlets and, of course, readers has given new meaning to the expression "three time's the charm."

GOSSAMER tells the story of a group of mythical creatures (for lack of a better expression to describe them) who create and distribute dreams. After being assigned to various households by their leader, Most Ancient, the creatures settle into their roles as dream weavers by “touching” objects in the house (photographs, articles of clothing, trinkets on a bureau) and gathering memories from them. After they acquire enough meaningful fragments, the dreamgivers combine them to create a story, or dream, to bestow on the sleeping inhabitants. This process is how dreams are born.

So, too, are nightmares conjured up by the evil Sinisteed Hordes, who attempt to undo all the good that the dreamgivers impart by banding together to flood their victims' subconscious with dark and stormy thoughts. If enough insidious nightmares are inflicted upon these sleeping individuals, their waking hours can become increasingly negative and damaging until they can no longer remember how to be happy and at peace. In this agitated state, they are a great risk to those around them and to society as a whole.

In addition to providing a unique and imaginative explanation as to where dreams and nightmares come from, GOSSAMER also tells the moving story of an angry boy and a lonely old lady who are brought together under unfortunate circumstances. John, the boy, has been uprooted from his abusive home, and the woman suffers from loneliness after the death of her husband. As a way to find companionship and to give back to the world, the woman agrees to take John in for a summer until his real mother can get back on her feet. The bond that forms between the two isolated characters is so subtle yet so ripe with feeling that by the book's conclusion you wonder how they ever could have been apart. Finally, Littlest One and Thin Elderly infuse John’s and the woman’s dreams with enough peace, love and positive energy to enrich their souls and ward off negative thoughts, and the result is pure magic.

Lowry's 2006 offering brims with sentiment and wisdom. It is evident that she has taken great care to write a narrative that will both teach and touch its readers. A book full of gentle spirit and ethereal beauty, GOSSAMER succeeds on all levels.

Reviewed by Alexis Burling on January 8, 2008

by Lois Lowry

  • Publication Date: January 8, 2008
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling
  • ISBN-10: 0385734166
  • ISBN-13: 9780385734165