When We Got Lost in Dreamland (paperback)

When We Got Lost in Dreamland (paperback)

By Author / Illustrator

Ross Welford


Science Fiction

Age range(s)



HarperCollins Publishers




Paperback / softback




The landmark new novel from Ross Welford, one of the fastest-growing and most critically acclaimed middle grade authors in the UK, this funny, moving and brilliant sixth book cements his position as the most exciting storyteller around for readers of 10+.

When eleven-year-old Malky and his younger brother Seb become the owners of a \"Dreaminator\", they are thrust into worlds beyond their wildest imagination.

From tree-top flights and Spanish galleons, to thrilling battles and sporting greatness - it seems like nothing is out of reach when you can share a dream with someone else.

But... impossible dreams come with incredible risks, and when Seb won't wake up and is taken to hospital in a coma, Malky is forced to leave reality behind and undertake a final, terrifying journey to the stone-age to wake his brother...


Kunal - Age 12

What I love about Ross Welford's writing is that the stories are down-to-earth and relatable to me, yet they set your imaginations free-flying, too. It is really exciting and there is a plot twist at the end. I really liked the imagination and the style of writing with flashbacks. There is nothing I disliked about this book. I would recommend it to anyone who likes adventure, fantasy and a little bit of magic. I rate it a 5/5 as it was superb.

When We Got Lost In Dreamland is an intriguing, absorbing read. Malky is struggling with his parents' divorce and his behaviour and relationships have suffered as a result. He is often in trouble and easily caves to peer pressure as his lack of friendships make him vulnerable, but he has a good heart and ultimately finds his way again.

Extremely well crafted, the story moves forwards and back in time and between dream and reality as the events unfold. Ross Welford does a great job of portraying a boy that children will relate to; he isn't perfect, he is just a kid. There are poignant moments which are sensitively dealt with. Characters die, parents argue, children fall out and Malky is worried, so worried about his annoying little brother and what might happen to him. There's also an abundance of humour.

In the land of dreams, all manner of characters and events can happen and sometimes the lines are blurred and it's impossible to tell the difference between the land of dreams and the land of reality.

416 pages

Suggested Reading Age 9+


In When we got lost in Dreamland, Malcolm is starting a new school but has already fallen in with the wrong crowd. When the domineering Kez Becker dares him to steal something from a house in the neighbourhood, Malcolm comes away with two strange contraptions called 'Dreaminators' and a whole heap of trouble. Once assembled, the 'Dreaminators' not only enable Malcolm and younger brother Seb to dream with an awareness that they are dreaming, but to actually share and control the same dream.

However, the more they are used, the less power over the dream Malcolm seems to have. Blissfully unaware of the increasing danger, Seb encourages his brother to go further than they have ever gone before in sleep, and one morning as Malcolm wakes, Sebastian does not. A race against time begins with Seb's life on the line.  Can Malcolm face his fears to rescue his brother? Will anyone come to his aid? Who would even believe him if he confided in them? Who can he trust?

Fast-paced and unnerving at times, Ross Welford's magical realism novel blurs the lines between dreams and reality for an unsettling but gripping read.  Beneath the main narrative, When we got Lost in Dreamland also deals with some complex issues such as addiction, split families, illness, death and the isolation of the elderly in society which makes it a more suitable read for those aged 10 and above.

Malcolm's promising friendship with new girl Susan Tenzin, under the watchful eye of her eccentric Tibetan Mola/grandmother, is a real highlight of the book and the cast of characters throughout are well drawn. An excellent class read to prompt discussion and for pure enjoyment.

406 pages / Reviewed by Rhiannon Cook, school librarian

Suggested Reading Age 9+


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