A poem is a perfect package of carefully selected words chosen to present a very particular moment or idea. This novel is a poem with characters and vignettes drawn to deliver the story of one shy little boy who grew to become the world-famous poet, Pablo Neruda. The story depicts essential moments in time as we see Naftali (Neruda’s birth name)growing up in the family of a bullying and intolerant father, a meek mother, and siblings who have artistic gifts but may be forced to hide them.The Dreamer, a novel of ideas and feelings, is illustrated with tiny pointillist drawings by Peter Sis which beautifully illuminate the ideas presented in each chapter. One need not be a fan of Neruda, nor really ever even heard of the poet to enjoy The Dreamer, a novel which stands on its own as witness to a young boy who grows to value his own voice and follow his own dream. Munoz Ryan has begun each chapter with an open ended question encouraging Naftali to identify his feelings and to honor his sense of wonder.