Theo and her young, irresponsible mother seem trapped in their miserable, poverty-stricken life. Theo dreams of belonging to a “real” family, and her dream seems to come true when she is mysteriously adopted by the large, warm Kaldor family.
But as time passes, the magic of Theo’s new life begins to fade, and soon she finds herself back with her mother. Were the Kaldors real or just a dream? And who is the shadowy figure who haunts Theo’s thoughts?
The combination of a little girl's desperate wishes and a dead writer's fantasy propels nine-year-old Theo into a dream world--or does it? Theo lives with her neglectful mother in Vancouver, where she's left alone for days with filthy clothes and matted hair. All she has for company are library books--The Moffats; All-of-a-Kind Family; and other stories of happy families--which she laps up like a starving kitten. Then one day, on the ferry to Victoria to meet her Aunt Sharon, Theo somehow wakes up with a loving family of her own. Is it a dream or reality? Things are not quite so simple. Pearson's (The Sky Is Falling; A Handful of Time) graceful book seems geared to warm the hearts especially of girls who aspire to write and adult women who read a lot as children. The ghost of a children's fiction writer literally hovers over this story; she can't leave this world because she hasn't written her final book. When Theo finally meets the ghost in the cemetery, they converse about plots and characterization, and the ghost even assures Theo that a rotten childhood can come in handy because it gives you lots of good writing material when you grow up. It's a jarring and cynical aberration in an otherwise touching exploration of what it means to be a family. Ages 8-12.
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Awake and dreaming