Adults think that Peter Fortune is a difficult child because he sits by himself and stares into space. But, except for resultant absentmindedness, like forgetting his little sister on a bus, Peter's daydreams are usually harmless flights of fancy. The Daydreamer includes seven of these flights and four of them—"The Dolls," "The Cat," "The Baby," and "The Grown-Up"—are metamorphosis experiences. "The Cat" is a beautiful story that tells of Peter's spirit climbing into the body of his old house cat, William. While in William's body, Peter experiences life as a cat and fights William's last territorial battle for him. Some of Peter's other experiences are less benign. For example, many children flirt with the idea of making their families disappear, but the way Peter goes about it in "Vanishing Cream" is rather gruesome. And when Peter verbally defeats the school bully in "The Bully," Peter himself acknowledges that his words are unduly harsh. Although McEwan presents Peter as a sweet introvert, Peter proves himself to be far from that. Novelist McEwan's first book for children contains some magical moments but is marred by being often repetitive and occasionally mean-spirited. (Fiction. 8+) Read full book review >
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