Recommended age group : 8 to 12
Sam Carr
Sam Carr is a writer based in Rensselaer County, NY.
Simon Carr is an artist who lives and works in New York City. He teaches drawing at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, and his artwork is represented by the Bowery Gallery in New York City.
A young father gets lost in the mountains and meets a mysterious stranger and his dog. Nostromo the dwarf is a rough man with good manners, a bad temper, and the ability to talk to animals. He tells the young father the wondrous tale of his perilous trip to the mountains in the colonial past, of a ghost and storms and abandoned riches and creating a new life in the New World. But where is he from and why is he here?
  • 120 pages, including 14 black and white illustrations
  • Trim size: 5-1/2 x 8-1/2"
  • ISBN 978-1-940021-16-4 paperback $6.99
  • ISBN 978-1-940021-17-1 eBook $1.99
Nostromo Questions & Activities
  1. 1.
    In the story, Nostromo can talk to animals--all animals. Is that a skill you’d like to have? If you could talk to only one kind of animal, what animal would that be?
  2. 2.
    The author tells us that he met Nostromo in the Taconic Mountains many years ago. Where are the Taconic Mountains?
  3. 3.
    Now that you know where the Taconics are, can you figure out where these other places mentioned in the story are (listed in reverse order from when they appear in the
    story--and note that, for some things, indicated by an asterisk (*), you will need to make a smart guess):
    "he sailed up the wide river…Some parts of the river had huge cliffs on the western side"
    "a wide, beautiful harbor where a great river flowed into the ocean"
    *The island of Coconuts
    The ocean Nostromo sails across
    * "The fishermen of that village prided themselves of being afraid of nothing at all"
    *He came from a land "far across the ocean... The house was on a little island on a great lake... He set off walking west"
  4. 4.
    Now that you have an idea of where Nostromo came
    from--do you think you can figure out when he came? Here are some clues:
    The way he describes the people in “beautiful harbor where a great river flowed”
    The story the Lenape man tells him several years later
    At the fort at which Nostromo first meets the Lenape man--they seem to speak Dutch
    The sickness in the place near where Nostromo came from
    Can you think of any other clues?
  5. 5.
    Once Nostromo reaches the Taconics, we learn how he built his new home. It took lots of hard work and planning. What’s something that you’ve done that took lots of hard work and planning?
  6. 6.
    After the flood, Nostromo rebuilds most everything again. Have you ever had something destroyed or messed up and had to rebuild it or re-do it? How did you feel? When you rebuilt it, was it better than before? Was it different?
  7. 7.
    Nostromo’s animal friends all play a role in the
    story--Cicero, the One-Eyed crow, and Minerva. Each of them has a very different personality. What can you tell us about each one and what they did in the story?
  8. 8.
    Besides the flood, Nostromo has other things or problems that he has to or wants to overcome--mice, woodchucks, getting supplies, staying hidden. What’s a problem you’ve overcome or solved to achieve what you want?
  9. 9.
    On his ship across the ocean, Nostromo meets a ghost who feels badly about something he did in his life. Do you remember what it was? The ghost is trying to make up, or atone, for something he did in his life. We all make mistakes. Have you ever tried to make up for something you wish you hadn’t done?
  10. 10.
    We know that Nostromo left behind a small house filled with riches. How could we find it? What would you do if you did find it?
  11. 11.
    The house Nostromo left behind was on an island in a lake and he locked the door. Can you think of any other ways he could have made it harder for someone to find and get in to?
  12. 12.
    Nostromo watches as towns and cities are built in his new country. The people who live in a country can change over time. What people first settled where you live? Are they still there? If not, where did they go, and who replaced them?
  • The fort that Nostromo visits is meant to keep the people who live there safe, but also allow strangers to come and trade their goods.  Forts and castles used to be at the center of most towns and cities because they were safe in both of those ways.  Can you build a fort out of clay or blocks that could keep people safe, but also work as a market in more peaceful times? Here’s a picture of the Fort that Nostromo visited, but you can build your own.
  • Nostromo spends his life in the wild, and knows all the different animals and plants he sees. Do you know about the plants and animals you see every day? Can you describe and name 10 different kinds of plants and animals that you’ve seen?
  • Nostromo built his own house. If you have a woods near where you live, or a backyard, can you make a kind of shelter?
I really enjoyed the humor of the narrative voice in this story. The illustrations were very simple and made it feel as if Nostromo the dwarf drew them himself.
—Abigail Doris

Upon getting lost in the woods, our narrator meets a strange Dwarf named Nostromo and his dog, Cicero. Many more dinners and lunches later, the trio become great friends.

Nostromo is a great book about kindness and deep friendship. Stories told by the strange dwarf are filled with interesting characters and could easily be broken down to a nightly read for kids. The plot is fairly easy to understand so even young ones would enjoy listening to these tales.

I really liked this story. It captivated me and kept me interested through its entirety. … Wonderful!!

—Ruby Blotzer
I really enjoyed everything about this book. I loved the format as to how the story is told (like it was being told by the father to the child), some chapters gave a perfect end point if you were reading to your own children. I also really enjoyed the characters, they were all so vivid and fully developed. The little bit of realism and little bit of fantasy together made a really fun story.

This is a fantastic book that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages (and even non-readers). It can be a short read for a single sitting or can be spaced out with no worries about forgetting the plot line. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!
This is a great read aloud from a parent to their child when they are 6 or older. In this book, a father gets lost and stumbles upon Nostromo the dwarf playing his violin by the fire. Nostromo eventually invites him in to his home to spend the night and feeds him. An unlikely friendship is formed and over time, Nostromo shares his stories which are in turn shared with the father's child. Each chapter is another story so could be read easily over time as a bedtime book. Nostromo is a great book about kindness and deep friendship.

The characters were all so vivid and fully developed, including the animals. The little bit of realism and little bit of fantasy together made a really fun story.

A kind soul helped by animals and a ghost along his long journey across the sea. It’s very simple and entertaining for young children, and reminds me of the old tales that we read as kids, where life was simple and the world was full of innocence.

I think this is a lovely book... If you were lucky enough to have someone who told you many stories when you were a child, I think you might find that this book captures that sensation really nicely … This book is indeed a children's book with a unique combination of history and fantasy.

Serena LeBlanc

This book was great because it took me on a wonderful journey! I really like all of the characters and couldn't pick just one favorite. My favorite scene in the book is when Nostromo helps Minerva because it is super sweet and makes me feel happy when I read about his good deed. I recommend this book for any readers who love adventures.

Why We Love This Book
At Bliss Group, we like getting to know characters we’ve never met before. Nostromo the Dwarf covers roughly 400 years in the life of a character whose company we enjoy. Who wouldn’t want to spend so much time with such an interesting, mysterious figure? He has special powers—talking to animals, an amazing ability to learn, strength, longevity—but more importantly, he has a kind heart.
Two other things, in particular, drew us to this story. One: Like us at Bliss Group, the author, Sam Carr, has a deep respect for nature, for legends and history, for the stories we tell. In Nostromo the Dwarf, the narrator tells us that Nostromo "knew the legends of the old world so well, and understood them very deeply, and he understood that legends often begin as stories that might or might not be true. But when they become legends they are true in a way that is truer than anything else."
Two: Nostromo is most gloriously alive, perhaps, because he doesn’t deny struggle and death and loneliness, but doesn’t wallow in it either; Nature is beautiful, but wild, and sometimes destructive. It’s raw. And we find that…healthy.
—Amel Larrieux
—Laru Larrieux
—Alan Bradshaw
—Bliss Group Books