A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What 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.
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?
The story and cosmology are a bit complex but should still be captivating as a read-aloud for little ones, especially at bedtime. 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.
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