{Review} THE SANDMAN by William Joyce

O P E N I N G   L I N E:

"OF COURSE YOU KNOW THE GUARDIANS OF CHILDHOOD.  You've known them since before you can remember, and you'll know them till your memories are like twilight.  The very first guardian was the Man in the Moon, and it was he who found the others.
The Man in the Moon watches over the children of Earth.  Like a giant nightlight in the sky, he keeps nightmares away.  But when the moon is less than full and bright, who will keep the children safe at night?
(pg. 1, US Hardcover Edition)

Check out my review of the first book in this gorgeous picture book series, THE MAN IN THE MOON!

Last year when THE MAN IN THE MOON came out as a picture book, I was struck by the gorgeous cover and mesmerized by William Joyce's talent in both illustration and storytelling.  THE SANDMAN is no different, once again full of lush imagery and a captivating story of the way a childhood icon came into being.

I was really excited when I heard that DreamWorks had picked up Joyce's The Guardians of Childhood series and would be adapting it for film, and now that the movie is set to premiere tomorrow, I'm eager to share my review of the latest picture book series with you.

Check out today's movie review and take a peek at the trailer if you haven't already seen it:

THE SANDMAN and THE MAN IN THE MOON both share elements of being more complex picture books with stories that may overwhelm children too small to sit still for a story with a little more depth.

One of my favorite things about both THE SANDMAN and its predecessor, THE MAN IN THE MOON, is how gorgeous everything looks. The images are bright and complex, with something new to see everytime you look at the artwork anew. Joyce is extremely talented, and I can't wait to see what the next picture book in the series will look like!

Just look at this stunning, two-page illustration for a hint at the gorgeous, colorful, detailed illustrations:

Some of the scenes with the villainous Pitch
might be too scary for younger children!
While most of the images are fun to share with children, there are still some darker scenes that can be more terrifying. 
There are a few scary images involving Pitch that might frighten children (Though he's also pretty scary-looking in the movie!), but also a whimsical element to some of Pitch's minions that sort of remind me of the heartless villains from the Kingdom Hearts videogame franchise.
Don't these little minions remind you
of the Heartless from Kingdom Hearts?

Even the way Joyce words his story is captivating.  Everything is told in an easy, lyrical way that feels like a traditional tale.  I would have adored this series as a child. 

Here's one of my favorite passages:
"On and on Sandy slept.  And on and on he dreamed.
Until every grain of sand on his island contained a dream.

Ten thousand nights and dreams passed.  Pitch had vanished and so had the Golden Age. 

The world changed.  The island changed.  And Sandy changed."

(pg. , US Hardcover Edition)

Um, and this is is my other favorite part:

 Because, um, mermaids.  The mermaids play a part in helping Sandy sleep safely and dream!  This page along made my heart sing in happiness.

I know THE MAN IN THE MOON and THE SANDMAN look like traditional picture books, but they go so much deeper and are for children of all ages, even ones who think they've outgrown picture books.  They haven't outgrown these lush, decadent visual treats!  "Baby books," these are not!

There's also a great moral story and the Sandman is truly a Guardian of Childhood, who protects the dreams of children everywhere.  Sandy also has a great role in Rise of the Guardians, so I can see a lot of families reading THE SANDMAN together this holiday season!
Thumb through THE MAN IN THE MOON to see if it's age-appropriate for your child...or even just to read on your own!  It's a book that sits proudly on my shelf, and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of this imaginative series.

C O V E R   D E S I G N:

The cover captivated me from the moment I first saw it.  Love at First Sight!  I knew I had to read this despite the fact that it was a picture book.  I was never for a second disappointed.

William Joyce's illustrations are as beautiful inside as they are on the cover; you can see all the careful detail and loving attention that went into each one.

I love the way the title is displayed and illustrated.  The moon, while in the background, appropriately encompasses most of the book's cover.  The image of two people riding on a curious looking moth/butterfly creature will make readers pick up the book to see who the people are, and what the creature is.  This cover definitely hints at the fantastic nature of the story lying within!

O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Title: THE SANDMAN: The story of Sanderson Mansnoozie
Author/Illustrator: William Joyce
Release Date: Out Now [Oct. 02, 2012]
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster
Received: Borrowed

One foggy night, the Man in the Moon has a startling thought: When the moon is less than full and bright, who will keep children safe at night? He needs a backup plan! Or a backup Guardian, as it were. His keen eye falls upon a sleepy little fellow living on a sleepy little island who is a sweet-dreamer extraordinaire. Since good dreams always trump bad ones, this means Pitch, the Nightmare King, will be further thwarted in his nefarious quest to terrorize children. So Sanderson Mansnoozie seems the perfect choice. But there are two problems. Firstly, given that Sandy has never had a bad dream, how can MiM convince him how important this new role is to the happy-being of children everywhere? And secondly, how can MiM keep this snoozy ally awake long enough to help?

This follow-up to THE MAN IN THE MOON, a New York Times bestseller called “dazzlingly inventive” by Publishers Weekly, introduces us to the sleepy little fellow to whom we owe many a good nights’ rest, the second Guardian of Childhood, the Sandman.


  1. I love the artwork shown in this review! Wonderful!
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

    1. Isn't it beautiful? I can count the number of picture books I've bought in the last few years on one hand. THE SANDMAN (And its companion, THE MAN IN THE MOON) are two that I can count. They're simply stunning! It's one reason I was so excited about the movie!

  2. The only Sandman i liked is the East German TV Show (on rbb, mdr, and KiKA).


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