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THE SLEEPWALKERS by Viviane Schwarz


by Viviane Schwarz ; illustrated by Viviane Schwarz

Age Range: 10 - 13

Pub Date: May 14th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-7636-6230-1
Publisher: Candlewick

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)