The Dreams That Stuff Is Made Of
TIME PASSES STRANGELY WHEN you are sleeping. You can close your eyes when it is night, then open them again and see morning. Yet the hours that went by seemed no longer than the drifting journey of a leaf in a soft breeze.
Strange, wondrous, and terrible adventures are the norm in dreams. Uncharted lands come and go. Dream epics play out. Wars are fought and won. Loved ones are lost or found. Entirely different lives are lived as we sleep. And then we awake, with disappointment or relief, as if nothing at all had happened.
But sometimes things do happen.
In the waking world, the Guardians had lost one of their own to a powerful entity known as Mother Nature.
But an odd little man had been sleeping for more days and nights than any calendar could count. The snoozing fellow was the color of golden sand—indeed, he seemed to be made of the stuff. And his unruly hair twirled and twisted as he slept. He rested in the dune-covered center of a tiny star-shaped island that was nearly impossible for humans to find, for it was not originally from the Earth. The island was not connected to anything; no landmass beneath the ocean anchored it in place. As such, it was the only island on our planet that truly floated atop the water. Because of this, it drifted. In June it might be in the Pacific Ocean, and by July it might be off the coast of Madagascar, its whereabouts known only to the Moon and the stars.
Which was fitting, for this island had once been a star. It had been saved by the leader of the Guardians, Tsar Lunar, or as we call him, the “Man in the Moon.” But that was ages ago.
The island, from above
On this most auspicious night, Tsar Lunar called upon the small and harmless-looking fellow who softly snored among the island’s magic sands.
But how should one awaken a man from the past? A man who had traveled oceans of time and space. A steadfast fellow who had piloted the fastest shooting star in the heavens. A hero of ten thousand battles against Pitch, the Nightmare King. This smallish warrior had once been the most valiant granter of wishes the cosmos had ever known. How does one wake a man who has not opened his eyes since the great ancient days of the Golden Age?
As with most things, the answer was simple.
The Man in the Moon sent a moonbeam messenger with a single whispered request: “I wish that you would help. Your powers are needed.”
In an instant the little man’s eyes opened. The centuries of sleep fell away. There he stood, tall as he could: Sanderson Mansnoozie. The Man in the Moon then proceeded to relay his full message. Sanderson Mansnoozie listened intently.
So very much had happened while he had slept.
Pitch had returned and was threatening the galaxies again. But Sanderson Mansnoozie’s long sleep had been most productive. He was now more powerful than he had ever been: He had power over the world of dreams. In fact, every grain of sand on his island now contained a dream—one dream from each night of his nearly endless sleep, and all of them good dreams, strong enough to fight any nightmare.
When the Man in the Moon finished, Sanderson Mansnoozie, with a wave of his hands, brought his island to life. Its sands swirled around him, and the island transformed into a cloud that swept him up from the sea and into the sky.
With moonbeams to guide him, he sailed the golden cloud toward his mission: to aide the Guardians. To save and rescue a girl named Katherine. And to stop Pitch forever.
This “Sandman” was ready to seek out his ancient enemy and oldest friends. He was ready to face whatever dangers lay ahead.
And there were many.
The Sandman and the War of Dreams
When the Man in the Moon brought together the Guardians, he warned them that they would face some terrible evils as they strove to protect the children of earth. But nothing could have prepared them for this: Pitch has disappeared and taken Katherine with him. And now the Guardians are not only down one member, but a young girl is missing.
Fortunately, MiM knows just the man to join the team. Sanderson ManSnoozy—known in most circles as the Sandman—may be sleepy, but he’s also stalwart and clever and has a precocious ability to utilize sand in myriad ways. If the other Guardians can just convince Sandy that good can triumph evil, that good dreams can banish nightmares, they’ll have themselves quite a squad. But if they can’t…they might never see Katherine again.
- Atheneum Books for Young Readers |
- 240 pages |
- ISBN 9781442430549 |
- November 2013 |
- Grades 2 - 6 |
- Lexile 810L
William Joyce discusses The Guardians of Childhood
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Reading Group Guide
The Guardians, Book 4: The Sandman and the War of Dreams
By William Joyce
1. What are the characteristics of a Guardian? Compare and contrast the characteristics of the other Guardians to Sandman Mansnoozie. Do you think Sandman has what it takes to be a Guardian?
2. Discuss the encounter between Pitch and his daughter, Mother Nature. How would one describe the relationship between them? For example, when Pitch says with a sneer, “Yes, my daughter, I will not touch her (Katherine),” what does this tell you about Pitch?
3. As a Star Captain, Sandy was honor bound to send a dream powerful enough for the person receiving it to remember it and guide them in their quest to make that dream come true. Have you or anyone you know had a dream that was powerful enough to change their life?
4. What did Lord Pitch do to the Dream Pirates when he caught them? Why did the Dream Pirates consider this treatment a weakness? Was Lord Pitch able to maintain his judgment and composure throughout the battles?
5. What happened to Lord Pitch to turn him from a gentleman of the Golden Age to a ruthless murderer? As a true gallant, humane, and compassionate general, would Lord Pitch execute his murderous sentence to the pirates without a thorough investigation? Did he feel like he conducted one? Do you?
6. Describe Emily Jane as a child see more