The Sleepwalkers
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The Sleepwalkers

by Viviane Schwarz
     
 

Nightmares are turned around with the help of The Sleepwalkers, a dreamlike graphic-novel adventure by Vivane Schwarz.

When you are afraid to fall asleep, when all your dreams are nightmares, write us a letter, put it under your pillow, we will rescue you...
It is almost time for the old and tired Sleepwalkers to return to the waking world

Overview

Nightmares are turned around with the help of The Sleepwalkers, a dreamlike graphic-novel adventure by Vivane Schwarz.

When you are afraid to fall asleep, when all your dreams are nightmares, write us a letter, put it under your pillow, we will rescue you...
It is almost time for the old and tired Sleepwalkers to return to the waking world. But before they go, they must conjure and train three new replacements. Who else will look after the Sleepwalking House and be there to answer the call of a child frozen with fear, trapped in a nightmare? Faced with a series of cliff-hanging dream predicaments, the three brave new heroes tackle the weird and the wild in this tale about pulling together as a team and having the confidence to stand up to your fears.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A tidal wave of mice descending on a town made of cheese, a sea turtle one can ride in like a submarine, a jungle inhabited by creatures made entirely of well-groomed hair. If this sounds like dreamstuff, that’s exactly what it is in Schwarz’s tale of a band of intrepid dream warriors who rescue defenseless sleeping children from nightmares. Bonno (short for Bonifacius), a blanket transformed into a timid bear; Amali, an exuberant sock monkey; and Sophia, a crow made from a writing quill who communicates by writing, are the Sleepwalkers’ newest recruits, learning the ropes from a trio of seasoned sheep. It takes quick thinking and steely resolve to face the never-ending stream of children’s nightmares, from monsters to falling and being naked in school. Can the three rookies handle it? Schwarz (A Place to Call Home) plumbs the depth of her imagination and introduces a world brimming with creativity and personality, if a touch sparse on narrative. Her loose and scribbled art (along with a handful of entertaining diagrams) fits this childlike adventure nicely, and will leave readers dreaming of more. Ages 7–10. (May)
From the Publisher
More than a simple (if weird) adventure, Schwarz constructs a fascinating and intricate mythology, and even leaves readers with an echo of haunting poignance.
—Booklist (starred review)

Many of [Schwarz's] dreamscapes will easily be some of the best illustrations seen in children’s lit all year. With its lovable characters and imaginative settings, Sleepwalkers will be a hit with both young and older readers.
—School Library Journal

Children's Literature - Hazel Buys
The childhood experiences of fearing monsters under the bed and having dreams so bad sleep will not come are vanquished by a champion, called by a letter a child puts under his pillow. Rescue comes in the form of a dog and two sheep. They spirit the dreamer away to a safe house where a third sheep waits. The sheep and dog give the dreamer a strategy to use the next time the nightmare comes, giving the boy control of the dream. The sheep, however, are ready to retire, so they create three apprentices whom they train to take their places. The apprentices must learn to work together to conquer their own fears before they can take on the work of the sleepwalkers. The comic book format uses a loosely drawn and subtly colored illustration style to seamlessly blend images and words. The narrative operates successfully on several levels as the sleepwalkers demonstrate how to conquer fears in dreams and in life. Visual references to the power of writing as a coping mechanism (one of the apprentices is a pen nib on a bird body), the affirmation of putting on a brave front (the bear apprentice creates a mask that helps him feel powerful), and the strategy of turning a monster into an object of ridicule create a faceted approach to conquering bad dreams and monsters that children will understand. The hint at the end of the book that the sleepwalkers are as old as human history is a deft, delightful finish to the story. Schwarz's book would fit in well with a resource section in an elementary school classroom or library and could be used individually or in a reading circle to help children discuss and deal with bad dreams. Reviewer: Hazel Buys
School Library Journal
Gr 4 Up—Three sheep have been rescuing children from their own nightmares for a lifetime. Now that they are on the verge of retirement, they set out to train their replacements, which include a bear in a luchador mask, a charismatic sock monkey, and a crow with a pen for a head. These unlikely superheroes use both their wits and their fists to save the day in the most impossible and creative scenarios. One moment, they're saving a girl in a town entirely made of cheese from an army of rats; the next, they're saving an underwear-clad boy giving a speech in front of his classmates. But while they are out battling nightmares, our heroes must deal with their own demons, such as their fear of failure and of death. It's surprisingly deep for such a fantastical journey, but it is so action-packed and fast-paced that it seems as though there is a panel or page missing every once in a while that should have a little backstory. But while the exposition drops the ball, the drawings gracefully pick it back up. Anyone familiar with Schwarz's picture books knows that her artwork favors the surreal. In Sleepwalkers, her avant-garde style fits right in and greatly adds to each character and dream. Many of her dreamscapes will easily be some of the best illustrations seen in children's lit all year. With its lovable characters and imaginative settings, Sleepwalkers will be a hit with both young and older readers.—Peter Blenski, Greenfield Public Library, WI
Kirkus Reviews
From a floating, dream-proof Safe House, a diverse squad intrepidly issues forth to rescue children from attacks of nightmares in this melodramatic, rather confusing graphic outing. Missions include snatching one child away from a torrent of mice and others from endless falling, impenetrable darkness, an N.I.P. ("Naked in Public") scenario and a bellowing red monster. Against this backdrop, three overworked sheep create a sock monkey named Amali, Sophia, a bird with a pen-nib head, and tubby Bonifacius, a grumpy bear sporting a Mexican wrestler's headpiece as successors before retiring through a one-way door. The narrative vertigo in this passing-of-the-torch tale caused by multiple cast changes and forays into dreamscapes subject to surreal twists and sudden transformations is only intensified by Schwarz's splashy, sketchy art--which occupies small panels further crammed with sound effects and dialogue balloons. A closing museum visit set in the waking world has, at best, a tangential relationship to the rest of the story. An intriguing premise, but it's too cramped and cryptic to reach its full potential. (Graphic fantasy. 10-13)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763662301
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
05/14/2013
Pages:
96
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 9.60(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

Viviane Schwarz is the author-illustrator of There Are Cats in This Book and There Are No Cats in This Book, among other picture books. She grew up in Germany and now lives in London.

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