From Publishers Weekly
Most grown-ups think Peter Fortune is a difficult child because he is so quiet: they "knew that something was going on inside that head, but they couldn't hear it or see it or feel it. They couldn't tell Peter to stop it, because they didn't know what it was he was doing in there." Actually, he is involved in one of his great adventures: exchanging bodies with his ancient pet cat, battling a troop of dolls come to life, making his parents disappear with a vanishing cream or discovering what it is like to be an adult falling in love. Through his daydreams, Peter learns to see the world from numerous points of view. He is the only boy at school, for example, who can recognize the weaknesses of a bully and feel compassion for him. In his first book for children, McEwan ( The Comfort of Strangers ; The Child in Time ) dextrously presents a series of strange and wonderful metamorphoses. His vivid and poetic writing, celebrating the creative abilities of a gifted 10-year-old, reveals a profound understanding of childhood. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 8-up.
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From School Library Journal
Grade 4-6–It seems to many people that ten-year-old Peter Fortune spends most of his days with his head in the clouds living a quiet, perhaps boring life. Only Peter knows of the fantastic adventures he experiences when he lets his mind wander and he begins to daydream. Bestselling British author Ian McEwan's first book for children (HarperCollins, 1994) takes the audience into the fantasy life of this young boy. Each unique daydream is told almost as its own story. The stories have very different tones, but are linked by the characters and school setting. Some of Peter's daydreams are role reversals where he gains insight into another creature's mind, such as when he exchanges bodies with the family cat, or he switches places with a tantrum-throwing infant. Other stories are funny and imaginative like the daydream about finding a jar of invisibility cream in the kitchen's junk drawer. One daydream is quite frightening, as a deformed doll belonging to Peter's sister takes her revenge out on Peter in a cruel manner. Accomplished performer Simon Prebble skillfully narrates the novel with a soothing voice that puts listeners into an almost daydream state of their own. His British accent provides a feel for the setting of the book. Young listeners will enjoy having each daydream read like an individual short story. Creative children may be inspired by some of the daydreams to write about their own fantasies. A good choice for school and public libraries serving upper elementary and middle school students.–Casey Rondini, Hartford Public Library, CT
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