When We Got Lost in Dreamland

Ross Welfrod

Harper Collins Childrens Books – Published 21st January 2021

Don’t you just love it when you can control a dream…when you know you’re dreaming & you choose where to take it…

Dared by class-mate Kez Becker, 12 year old Malky sneaks into a garden shed & takes the first thing he finds; a crumpled paper bag. Little does he know it contains a device that will transport him way past reality – to a place beyond even his wildest dreams.

Malky & younger brother Seb discover the ‘Dreaminator’ has the power to transport them to worlds beyond their wildest imagination whilst they sleep. They realise they can control their dreams and even share the same dream together. The brothers go on countless adventures with cavemen, sail on Spanish galleons and swim in gravy lakes!

But disaster strikes…when Seb won’t wake up after a dream, he is taken to hospital in a coma. Malky must make a treacherous journey back to the stone-age to wake his brother & face his own terrifying recurring dream…

I absolutely loved that this story was set in the North East of England & centres around Tynemouth, Tyne & Wear. I grew up watching Byker Grove & the characters were very reminiscent of those in the series – the accent really comes through in the narrative which is fantastic.

Dreams are such a fascinating phenomena and that makes this story so appealing for older readers. I’m sure we’ve all experienced dreams that have stayed with us for years afterwards and others we can only remember for fleeting moments after waking up . Many children will identify with having ‘a bad dream’ and the crocodile in Malky’s recurring dream is both scary and thrilling.

Lots of young people will be able to connect with Malky’s character. Struggling to come to terms with his parents’ separation, his behaviour at school is a concern. The additional storyline running alongside the main plot of his blossoming friendship with prim and proper new girl Susan, is so. heartwarming and illustrated how opposites attract.

Equally, the innocence of Malky and his brother really shone through in the story. How Seb loves his Kobi the Caveman story book and Malky, although a angsty, soon-to-be-tennager enjoys going on Seb’s Stone Age adventures in their shared dreams. The boys Mam starts seeing next door neighbour ‘Fit Billy’ (my favourite supporting character!) and we see that it completely goes over Malky’s head that the two are having a relationship.

I really need to read more of Ross Welford’s work now, starting with The 1000 Year-old Boy as I have heard many give it high praise.

With thanks to Harper Collins Children’s Books for my advance copy.

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