Heavy turmoil in the land of Nod.
Zac Wonder lives in the Waking World, which is suddenly plagued by an epidemic of bad dreams. When his beloved, feisty guardian, Granny Wonder, is summoned to a crisis simultaneously emerging in the land of Nocturne, Zac goes along too. There they find that dark-magic Dream Stealers are afoot, greedily zapping the nightmares of Wakelings to seize more power. In a refreshing twist on customary gender and age roles, Granny turns out to be one of the Knights of Nod, a "good" magician, who wants to save the day. Fast paced and full of cartoonish collisions with werewolves and vampires, the plot takes a while to get into gear. But Zac and Granny are endearing, as is Rumpous Tinn, Grandmaster of the Knights of Nod, who keeps useful devices in his beard. Scottish novelist MacKenzie, in his U.S. debut, dedicates this story “to grandparents everywhere,” filling it with magic, potions and metaphors about dreaming and wakefulness. By story’s end, a mystical Trinity, of which Zac may be a member, seems capable of saving the world, as the main characters meet up in a church, and suddenly it's Christmas. For middle-grade lovers of fantasy who are missing Harry Potter and are willing to make do with a more superficial plot and minimal character development.
Grab your Granny and fasten your seatbelt. (Fantasy. 8-12)