The Sandman and the War of Dreams is the fourth installment in William Joyce’s Guardians series (the animated feature film Rise of the Guardians was based on the series). I have enjoyed each of the books and there is still one final installment left to be written, but The Sandman is my hands-down favorite so far.
The entire series appeals to me because it has the wonderful storyteller quality of the best fairytales and because the theme woven throughout is one of kindness and love, belief in miracles and the courage to make those miracles happen. The Sandman describes riding throughout the skies on shooting stars, listening to the wishes made to him as he passes saying:
If a wish was worthy, we were honor-bound to answer it. We would send a dream to whomever had made the wish. The dream would go to that person as they slept, and within this dream there would be a story…and it would help guide them in their quest to make the wish come true.
I really love the belief in magic coupled with individual initiative and cooperation to combat the evil of Lord Pitch (the Nightmare King). The Sandman is a uniquely gentle story that is nonetheless full of the adventure and good vs. evil battles that keep the story moving at a brisk–sometimes breathless–pace.
This is a perfect read-aloud (as are the others in the series) for a classroom or as a bedtime selection for the whole family. I highly recommend it for all ages, but it will be most enjoyed by 7-11 year olds and those–like me–who truly love the storyteller/fairytale genre.