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Q&A | February 27, 2014

Rene Denfeld: IMG Powell’s Q&A: Rene Denfeld

Describe your latest book. The Enchanted is a story narrated by a man on death row. The novel was inspired by my work as a death penalty... Continue »
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    The Enchanted

    Rene Denfeld 9780062285508

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4 Local Warehouse Children's- General



Gossamer Cover




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 womans four-poster, moved his legs now and then as if chasing a dream rabbit.

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

“Shhh.” 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 in exasperation.

“Whatever makes you ask such a thing? The other learners never ask questions like that.” “Thats because they dont take time to think about things. Im a thinker. Right now Im 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. “Theres 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, dont you? Ouch!” She had stumbled a bit.

“Grasp the carpet fibers. Look how Im doing it.” “Couldnt we flutter down?” “We cant 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 rugs edge. “I think this house is lovely,” she said. “I wouldnt want any other house.” They tiptoed across. Littlest noticed her own shadow in the moonlight. “My goodness!” she exclaimed. “I didnt 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.

“Im—well, Im thicker than you. Youre barely formed yet. Youre 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 shadows 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 didnt 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 dont fly the way bats do, but we operate at night. Mightt 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 youd be quiet. My nerves are becoming frayed. I want no more questions now. None whatsoever.” “All right. I promise,” Littlest One said obedi- ently. They continued on, one following the other.

“Are you doing your assigned tasks?” “Yes. I touched the rug. And Im 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 sweaters 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.

Gossamer by Lois Lowry. Copyright (c) 2006 by Lois Lowry. Reprinted with permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Product Details

Lowry, Lois
Walter Lorraine Books
Lowry, Lois
Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Magic
Children's 9-12 - Fiction - Fantasy
Bedtime & Dreams
Foster home care
Fantasy & Magic
Child abuse
Children s-General
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
April 2006
Grade Level:
from 5
8.64x6.00x.65 in. .71 lbs.
Age Level:

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Related Subjects

Children's » General
Children's » Middle Readers » General
Children's » Science Fiction and Fantasy » General
Young Adult » General

Gossamer Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$16.00 In Stock
Product details 144 pages Walter Lorraine Books - English 9780618685509 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
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.

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