by Lois Lowry

Hardcover(Large Print Edition)

$23.95 View All Available Formats & Editions
3 New & Used Starting at $1.99


Where do dreams come from? What stealthy nighttime messengers are the guardians of our most deeply hidden hopes and our half-forgotten fears? Drawing on her rich imagination, two-time Newbery winner Lois Lowry confronts these questions and explores the conflicts between the gentle bits and pieces of the past that come to life in dream, and the darker horrors that find their form in nightmare. In a haunting story that tiptoes between reality and imagination, two people—a lonely, sensitive woman and a damaged, angry boy—face their own histories and discover what they can be to one another, renewed by the strength that comes from a tiny, caring creature they will never see.

Gossamer is perfect for readers not quite ready for Lois Lowry's Newbery-Award winner The Giver and also for readers interested in dreams, nightmares, spirits and the dream world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786289479
Publisher: Gale Group
Publication date: 09/20/2006
Edition description: Large Print Edition
Pages: 151
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

Lois Lowry is the author of more than forty books for children and young adults, including the New York Times bestselling Giver Quartet and popular Anastasia Krupnik series. She has received countless honors, among them the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, the California Young Reader’s Medal, and the Mark Twain Award. She received Newbery Medals for two of her novels, Number the Stars and The Giver. Her first novel, A Summer to Die, was awarded the International Reading Association’s Children’s Book Award. Ms. Lowry lives in Maine.
Twitter @LoisLowryWriter

Read an Excerpt


By Lois Lowry

Houghton Mifflin Company

ISBN: 0-618-68550-2

Chapter One

An owl called, its shuddering hoots repeating mournfully in the distance. Somewhere nearby, heavy wings swooped and a young rabbit, captured by sharp talons, shrieked as he was lifted to his doom. Startled, a raccoon looked up with bright eyes from the place where he was foraging. Two deer moved in tandem through a meadow. A thin cloud slid across the moon.

* * *

The pair crept stealthily through the small house. Night was their time of work, the time when human conversation had ceased, when thoughts had drifted away and even breathing and heartbeats had slowed. The outdoors was awake and stirring but the little house was dark and silent. They tiptoed, and whispered. Unaware, the woman and her dog slept soundly, though the dog, on his pillow bed of cedar shavings at the foot of the woman's four-poster, moved his legs now and then as if chasing a dream rabbit.

"Are we a kind of dog?" Littlest One asked suddenly.


They crept through the bedroom, out into the dark hall.

"May I talk now?"

"Oh, all right. Very quietly, though."

"I asked if we are a kind of dog."

Littlest One, whose name was sometimes shortened affectionately to simply Littlest, was working on this night with Fastidious, the one who had been designated her teacher. Littlest was very small, new to the work, energetic and curious. Fastidious was tired, impatient, and had a headache. She sniffed inexasperation.

"Whatever makes you ask such a thing? The other learners never ask questions like that."

"That's because they don't take time to think about things. I'm a thinker. Right now I'm thinking about whether I am a kind of dog."

"You just tiptoed past one. What did you notice about him?"

Littlest One thought. "A slight snore, a whiff of doggy breath, and his upper lip was folded under by mistake, just above a big tooth. It gave him an odd expression."

"Does he resemble us in the least?"

Littlest pondered. "No. But I believe there are many kinds of dogs. We saw that book, remember."

"Hurry along," Fastidious said. "There's much to do, and we have to go down the stairs yet."

Littlest One hurried along. The stairs were difficult, and she had to concentrate.

"You do remember the book, don't you? Ouch!" She had stumbled a bit.

"Grasp the carpet fibers. Look how I'm doing it."

"Couldn't we flutter down?"

"We can't waste our flutters. They use up energy."

They both made their way carefully down. "I hear there are houses that have no stairs," Fastidious murmured in an irritated tone. "None at all. I sometimes wish that I had not been assigned this particular house."

Littlest looked around when they reached the bottom of the stairs. She could see now into the large room with the very colorful rug. The small-paned windows were outlined in moonlight on the floor by the rug's edge. "I think this house is lovely," she said. "I wouldn't want any other house."

They tiptoed across. Littlest noticed her own shadow in the moonlight. "My goodness!" she exclaimed. "I didn't know we had shadows!"

"Of course we do. All creatures have shadows. They are a phenomenon created by light."

A phenomenon created by light. What a fine phrase, Littlest thought. She twirled suddenly on the rug and watched her shadow dance.

"Why is your shadow darker than mine?" she asked Fastidious, noticing the difference just then.

"I'm-well, I'm thicker than you. You're barely formed yet. You're practically transparent."

"Oh." Littlest examined her own self and saw that it was true. She had not paid much attention before to her own parts. Now she touched her ears, watching the shadow's arms move, too; then she swiveled her neck to peer down at her own tiny behind.

"I do not have a tail," she announced. "I think I am not a dog. We, I mean. We are not a kind of dog."

"There. You have answered your own question. Come more quickly, please. You are dawdling."

Reluctantly, Littlest scurried across the design of the carpet, beyond the moonlit rectangles, and onto the pine-boarded floor, which was always a little dangerous because of splinters.

"What if the dog woke? Would he see us? Or smell us, perhaps? I know he has a very significant nose. And if he did see us, or smell us, would that be dangerous for us?

"Or the woman? She woke the other night, remember? Because there was a bat in the house? It swooped and woke her somehow. She didn't like the bat. She was quite brave, I remember, and opened a window so the bat flew out into the night, which was where he had wanted to be all along, doing his night food-finding.

"But what if our little footsteps and flutterings had woken her? Would she have seen us?

"Are we visible to her?

"I know we don't fly the way bats do, but we operate at night. Might we be a type of bat?"

Fastidious turned suddenly with a very annoyed gesture. "Enough! Hush! Stop that questioning! We have our work to do. You insisted on coming. You said you'd be quiet. My nerves are becoming frayed. I want no more questions now. None whatsoever."

"All right. I promise," Littlest One said obediently. They continued on, one following the other.

"Are you doing your assigned tasks?"

"Yes. I touched the rug. And I'm touching this sweater now, the one she left on the chair."

"Gently. Do not under any circumstances press. But linger and get the feel of it into yourself."

"Yes, I am. You showed me how." Littlest was running her tiny fingers carefully over the sweater's soft sleeve. Then she touched a button and let her hand linger on it. It was startling, what she felt during the lingering. The entire history of the button came to her, and all it had been part of: a breezy picnic on a hillside in summer long ago; a January night, more recently, by the fire; and even, once, the time that a cup of tea had been spilled on the sweater. It was all there, still.

They moved quietly around the room, touching things. Fastidious half fluttered, half climbed to a tabletop and methodically touched framed photographs. Littlest watched in the moonlight and saw how the fingers chose and touched and felt the faces gazing out from the photographs: a man in uniform; a baby, grinning; an elderly woman with a stern look. Forgetting her promise of no questions, Littlest suddenly asked, "Might we be human?" But Fastidious did not reply.


Excerpted from Gossamer by Lois Lowry Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Gossamer 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 150 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love everything i've read by lois lowry.....but someone said this book was for 9-12 year olds. I'm 14, should i read it?
NayNay99 More than 1 year ago
Have you ever wondered about how your dreams appear into your thoughts at night? Well if you read Lois Lowry's GOSSAMER then your wonders will be no more. Lois Lowry is a magnificent writer! She takes the time to actually explain the plot and setting in the story. GOSSAMER is about how your dreams come to you at night. There are a set of different characters, Littlest one is the main one. She is in training of becoming an Elder, which is the oldest gossamer. Littlest one is being trained by a man who is uncomfortable with teaching her. The story takes place in different places and houses. The gossamers have to go house to house while they give and take dreams to and from people. Littlest one tries to give one dream and succeeds. And she asks to many questions, so that is why her trainer is so uncomfortable with her. Since Littlest one will not stop asking questions, then her trainer finally talks to the oldest Elder, and he is reassigned to an older child. So then Littlest one gets a new trainer and he is more wise and older that her previous trainer. What happens now? Well red Lois Lowry's GOSSAMER and you will find out. And I would rate this book five stars!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gossamer is a book written by Lois Lowry. She specializes in Holocaust literature and her books that do not fall into this genre still have similar themes. She has written Number the Stars and The Giver quartet. Before she pursued writing, she experimented as a photographer and still photographs today. She has one sister who died of cancer at the age of 28. Today, she lives and writes in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Gossamer is set in an unnamed town sometime close to the present. It tells the story of a young dream-giver, Littlest, who is given the named Gossamer, and how she is training with Thin Elder to become a professional dream-giver and “bestow” without supervision. He learns how to collect “fragments” and weave them into dreams for humans. However, a Horde of sinisteeds, who inflict nightmares, try to destroy a troubled young boy’s dreams. Littlest must find the strength and courage to save John from this terrible fate. Gossamer is set in an unnamed town sometime close to the present. It tells the story of a young dream-giver, Littlest, who is given the named Gossamer, and how she is training with Thin Elder to become a professional dream-giver and “bestow” without supervision. He learns how to collect “fragments” and weave them into dreams for humans. However, a Horde of sinisteeds, who inflict nightmares, try to destroy a troubled young boy’s dreams. Littlest must find the strength and courage to save John from this terrible fate. This book was a very simple but interesting story. The story was easily accessible to all readers regardless of reading level. All ages can enjoy this story and the important themes that it addresses. It also had a very unique and fast-paced plot. It had an interesting story involving fairy-like creatures and is interesting till the final page.  This book is appropriate for anyone who wants a quick, meaningful read. This story can be enjoyed by anyone who has a few hours and a warm heart. No previous knowledge would be needed to enjoy this story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lois Lowry has worked her magic again! Gossamer is so imaginative, so wonderfully unreal. It's very entertaining to experience Littlest mature and...well, I won't give the ending away.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Have you ever womdered how you dream of stuff! Lois lowry wrote this book and it couldnt get anymore awesomer love it!
alsatia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ever wonder where dreams come from? In this touching fantasy by Lois Lowery, dreams come from dreamgivers like Thin Elderly and Littlest One, tiny creatures who wander homes in the wee hours touching objects to gather good memories which they bestow as dreams. These two dreamgivers try to help a young boy named John who was abused by his father and now living in a foster home. Their efforts are hampered not only by his lack of happy memories but also by the Sinisteed, the beings that bring nightmares who are attacking the boy. Littlest One must use all her new dreamgiving skills to help the boy as best she can. This little book can be finished in one sitting yet is a satisfying read and will be popular with many readers.
goodnightmoon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A gentle tale, one melding an imaginative world with a somewhat harsh realistic one. One positive - I really enjoyed hearing the way the old woman talked to the boy. She had a great way of validating him and ignoring his violent and hateful comments that seems to be just right for abused kids. I chuckled when she revealed she was a teacher. It's definitely a skill teachers should develop. On the other hand, I, for one, had a really hard time picturing the dreamgivers. How big are they? Where do they go home to? Do the billions of them for everyone in the world live all together? That part of the puzzle fit somewhat awkwardly. Still, I admire Ms. Lowry for attempting a unique story.
1morechapter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this during the read-a-thon in the late night hours, and it was a perfect fit. I love Lois Lowry. I haven¿t found a book yet by her that I didn¿t like, and she is the author I¿ve read the most of this year.This is a tale about dream-givers, nightmare-givers, a little boy, his mother, a puppy, and an older female caretaker. It¿s difficult to say more without spoilers so I¿ll leave it at that. It was a wonderful book.
megamegpie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Good, easy chapter book
Treeseed on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A tale sparkling with imagination that plunges us into darkness then leaves us with hope's glimmer, Gossamer is the type of story I've come to expect from Lois Lowry, the author of the Newbery Medal winning novel,The Giver. Published in 2006, it is a short and spare novelette that the intended readership of 10-13 year olds will whistle through, probably finding it a page-turner experience, as I did. Part of the beauty of Lowry's writing talent is her ability to present weighty subjects with simplicity while offering up a completely fresh setting and complex characters. By enticing us with whimsical imaginary backdrops, she manages to pull the unsuspecting reader into places requiring mature depth of thought and emotion. In that sense her novels are tasty fare for the inquiring minds and hearts of coming of age young people in the intended readership group. Gossamer is a tale with two interwoven story lines. A fantasy world and its characters are combined with often painfully realistic characters in a real world setting. The first story line concerns beings called Dream Givers, elemental entities who "collect" memories from humans by entering their homes at night while the humans are sleeping and touching items in the homes such as books, blankets, pictures, knickknacks...almost anything, and extracting the memories from the items to later be "bestowed", again through the act of touch, upon the sleepers in the form of dreams. In this way the Dream Givers influence human beings in a positive way and help them to remember the important positive aspects of their lives so that they can stay on a path of growth and happiness. In this tale we follow the training period of a very young, talented and compassionate Dream Giver called Littlest One. In the process of her training she and her teacher Thin Elderly are assigned to the home of a lonely retired teacher who has just opened her home to a foster child, eight year old John. John has been the victim of serious child abuse and he is in foster care waiting for his mother who was also a victim of abuse, to get her life together and prepare a safe home for him. The antagonists in the story are an evil type of Dream Giver called Sinisteeds that rather than bestowing dreams, come snarling and reeking into the sleep of humans to inflict nightmares. They seek to twist the minds and hearts of humans and make them lose their way on their life path. They thrive on misery. They pick at and magnify our dark secrets. They keep our pain fresh. Littlest One is an adorable deceptively simple character filled with sweet, babyish innocence over a spirit of commitment, compassion, childish curiosity and courage. In my opinion, the unfolding of her story is the best part of the book and is why I really liked this book even though I felt it was too painful in other spots to make it what I would call a great book. Her teacher is also an interesting and well-drawn character. The boy, John, is a surly, difficult, smart-mouthed, sometimes cruel child that we can see is well on the road to becoming an abuser himself or a prison inmate or worse. He is drowning in sorrow, fear, pain, anger and loneliness and is closed down emotionally. His mother is fighting an uphill battle to regain control of her painful life and struggles with self-esteem issues, guilt and poverty. The foster care provider is gentle and intelligent and patient and extremely lonely herself. The lives of the Dream Givers and of the humans in the story intertwine and the relationship effects form the outcome. I loved the fantasy world of the Dream Givers/Sinisteeds. It was refreshingly new and imaginative and like nothing I have encountered before in fantasy literature. While the story's outcome is perhaps predictable the character development was not and I enjoyed that. The human characters were well realized as well. I did not appreciate the depth of the descriptions of the child abuse to which the boy is subjected. They were too graphic, i
paulaanweiler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The story of a dream giver that has so many dreams of her own.
MelAKnee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
John is a troubled child who has been placed in the care of an elderly woman and her dog Toby. There's many memories attached to a persons possesions, but how is Littlest One, a dream giver, to help a troubled boy who has nothing but a sea shell and a tiny suit case? The hard part for Littlest, a very young dream giver, when a Horde of Sinisteeds make their attach on John and bestow upon him troubling nightmares about his abusive father.
theCajunLibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lois Lowry combines real-life struggles of loneliness, old age, abuse, and learning to trust with the magical world of dream givers. She gives a mesmerizing explanation of how and why we dream the way we do.
kikotomo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lowry does an amazing job at telling this story of how dreams come to be. In this short book, Lowry was able to create heartwarming characters intertwined with a whimsical story.
megmcg624 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The littlest of a group of dream-granting fairies is charged with a lonely, elderly woman and the troubled young boy in her foster care. Gossamer is a disappoint departure from Lowry's usual high quality work. The low fantasy and the predictable plot will be off-putting to anyone above an early elementary reading level; but depictions of serious child abuse make the novel inappropriate for very young readers. Not recommended for any grade.
bell7 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Littlest One is a being that humans and animals cannot see but that comes in at night to touch our things and bestow dreams. She is young and nearly transparent yet, and trained by Fastidious to bestow dreams upon a young woman who lives alone. Fastidious is frustrated with Littlest One's curiosity and flightiness, so she gives charge of the home and Littlest One to Thin Elderly. When a young boy moves in, though, Sinisteeds (beings that inflict nightmares) start to move in, and Littlest One and Thin Elderly have to do their best to protect the inhabitants of their house from the damage that may be inflicted.I liked the non-human and human characters and felt for them. I enjoyed the device of getting to know a few human characters primarily through the observations of otherworldly creatures. Short, simple, and sweet.
jayde1599 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Synopsis: In this fantasy tale, dream-givers are the mystical creatures who give living things their pleasant dreams. Littlest One is the newest of dream-givers. She is curious about the world around her and her existence. She is guided by Thin Elderly to bestow dreams to their assigned house - belonging to the old woman, her dog Toby, and an angry eight-year-old boy named, John.Working against Littlest One and Thin Elderly are a Horde of Sinisteeds - those that bring nightmares to the most vulnerable. The Horde is gearing up to stampede the old woman's house - so Littlest One and Thin Elderly need to do their best to strengthen the household. Can Littlest One quiet and focus long enough to stand up against the Sinisteeds?Pros & Cons: This is a cute story for the young crowd. Lowry has a great imagination that is conveyed through the Dream-Givers and Sinisteeds. The characters in this book are written well and draw the reader in - especially Littlest One and John. Highly recommended.
ewyatt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a quick read about little sprites who are dream givers. A young trainee, Littlest, works with Thin Elderly to gather fragments that are the basis for dreams. These fragments are delivered to the woman, dog, and foster child within the house. Woven into the fabric of the story about Littlest is the story of Jack healing from an abusive father and being placed in a foster home. The story had a bit of magic. I like the thought of these sprites visiting me to deliver dreams each night.
PaigeCostella on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gossamer is a fantasy book about dream giving. While littlest one is learning how to bestow dreams, he falls in love with an eight year old boy whom he gives dreams to. Littlest one tries to save him from his abusive past and the nightmares given to him by the Sinisteeds.
jenvid on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Littlest and Thin Elderly are dream makers. They are like tiny fairies that collect meaningful and special memories to pass onto the human's mind as dreams. Thin Elderly and Littlest are assigned to work at a house with an old woman that takes in a foster child, John. John is an angry child that came from an abusive home. The Sinisteeds, the horse like creatures that create nightmares, are trying to torment John. The two dream makers must try to soothe these nightmares with pleasant dreams. This was a very interesting book to read. I wish I would have seen a picture of the dream makers. While reading the book, I imagined them as little fairies. It is interesting how Lowry came up with this concept for dreams and nightmares. I tagged this book for disabilities, because I feel any child coming from an abusive or violent home can enjoy reading this. I was so happy to see that towards the end of the book, the John's mother was trying to win him back. I love reading books that have happy endings. =)
kzrobin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book has two sides. One side is the dream makers and the other side is of John. I love how they intertwined. I'm usually not big on novels with imaginary figures, but the real life situations is what kept me reading. So many children go through what this little boy John went through, and it is important for kids to read this novel that way they know they¿re not alone. Not everyone¿s' situation deals with being forced to eat dog food, but there are other things that happened to him that children can relate to. Some may not have it as bad as John did and some may live their lives in far worse situations. If I were to have my students read this book I would tell them it¿s a story about where dreams come from, and let them find out the rest on their own.
jrlandry1410 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A brilliant fantasy book combining two sides: the real world and the world of the dream-givers. The book focuses on Littlest One, a dream giver, and the boy she is assigned to, John. John is haunted by the memories of his past, namely a very abusive father, a mother who has lost custody of him, and now he is sent to a young woman to care for him. Littlest One's job is to use her "gossamer touch" to gather pleasant memories from different objects to string together and create good dreams for John. These dreams help John to heal from his abusive past and to begin to trust again. Good book for 5th-8th graders.
mmwrigh3 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lowry invites the reader into a fantasy story about good and evil. A believable tale about fairy like creatures who are responsible for bestowing good dreams in humans that they have gathered from their belongings. A young dream giver, Littlest One, is learning to gather memories and it is not a task that should be taken lightly. Lowry uses a back-and-forth movement between the characters point of view creating many layers for the reader. Whether you are drawn into the dream giver's world or human's I think we can all relate to the story in some way.
feboudre on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A story about a small dream-giver named littlest one is learning to give collect happy fragments from people¿s life and to give them to the people in their dreams. Littlest-One help a foster child at night by sending him small fragments happy fragments of his mom. Genre: FantasyAge(s): 9-12
lekenned on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A story about two dream givers and their journey to help protect one small boy from nightmares about his past.