Adventure in dreamland;Children's books

19th March 1999 at 00:00
The Dream Master by Theresa Breslin (Doubleday, pound;10.99) and The Alchemy Set by Weem Whitaker (Oxford University Press, pound;5.99) would make good choices for children who get an attack of the "if onlys" when they have a harrowing dream or read a sad book - if only they could change the dream or the story's ending.

In Breslin's story, the boy, Cy, becomes emboldened when he realises that he can enter the dream world.

His plans go astray, however, when one of his dream characters, a young prince from ancient Egypt, is pulled back into Cy's world and ends up having to go to school with him.

Breslin shows that she can write as confidently for younger children as for teenagers. The Dream Master is light, witty, tightly written and well composed.

Weem Whitaker is not so sure-footed with this first novel but, although the language is somewhat laboured, the idea of children entering the narrative through alchemy in order to transform the plot produces a cracking adventure.

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