The Sandman: The Guardians of Childhood

Common Sense Media says

Imaginative tale of sleepy hero who fights kids' nightmares.

Age(i)

2
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4
5
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7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

The Sandman is pure fantasy, but does include a few astronomical references, including the phase of the moon, a shooting star, a black hole, and the constellation Orion.

Positive messages

The Sandman shows what's it's like to care about something bigger than yourself, to put others before your yourself, and to overcome your fear to help and protect others. 

Positive role models

Sandy is a sleepy, lovable hero who fights Pitch, the King of the Nightmares, a scary villain who is "sworn to destroy sweet dreams and shooting stars" and roams the night "in search of sleeping children to hazard." Sandy is willing to grant any wish -- especially from the Man in the Moon -- and conquers his own fear to help the children of Earth. 

Violence & scariness

Sandy is attacked by Pitch, the King of the Nightmares, and his menacing, scary-looking Dream Pirates. But as Sandy's fear vanishes, so do the nightmares. Sandy grabs each one and says, "You are not real. You are not true. You are nothing," and they turn to harmless Dreamsand. 

Language
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Sandman is the second picture book in William Joyce's The Guardians of Childhood series. Like The Man and the Moon, which preceeds it, The Sandman invents a back story to a mythical childhood character. Here readers find out who the Sandman is --Sanderson Mansnoozie, known as Sandy -- and what role he plays in making sure kids get a restful, nightmare-free sleep each night. There's a scary villain, Pitch, the King of Nightmares, attended by menacing Dream Pirates. But Sandy overcomes his own fears to defeat them and turn the nightmares into Dreamsand.  

Parents say

Kids say

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What's the story?

The Man in the Moon watches over the children on Earth, providing a giant night-light to keep kids safe from nightmares as they sleep. But he feels he needs a helper "when the moon is less than full and bright," including on foggy or cloudy nights. So he asks Sanderson Mansnoozie, or Sandy, once the pilot of a shooting star on which children would wish, to help him. Sandy must overcome his own fear to defeat Pitch, the Nightmare King, and his Dream Pirates.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The luminous illustrations in THE SANDMAN are spectacular and fit the fantastical nature of this inventive story set in the heavens among planets, shooting stars, constellations, and creatures from "the ocean of the sky"-- mermaids, sea turtles, a seahorse steed, and talking seashells. The main character, short, sleepy, roly-poly Sandy, is cute and appealing. The story and cosmology are a bit complex but should still be captivating as a read-aloud for little ones, especially at bedtime.  

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about nightmares and where kids think they come from. Do you wish you could banish nightmares? 

  • What do you think of the art in The Sandman? How does it help tell the story? 

  • If you read The Man in the Moon, how do you think The Sandman compares? 

Book details

Author:William Joyce
Illustrator:William Joyce
Genre:Picture Book
Topics:Magic and fantasy
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Atheneum
Publication date:October 2, 2012
Number of pages:48
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 8
Read aloud:4 - 8
Read alone:5 - 8
Available on:Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, Nook

This review of The Sandman: The Guardians of Childhood was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 4 year old Written byLucie Pevensie December 28, 2012
AGE
4
QUALITY
 

Absolutely beautiful

Beautiful story, beautifully illustrated. It is magical. Some lovely messages about coping with fears. I just loved this book for my 4 1/2 year old.
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