At the behest of the Man in the Moon, shooting-star captain Sanderson Mansnoozie takes on a new responsibility—guarding Earth’s children from the evil Pitch and his Dream Pirates.
Back in the Golden Age, he was tasked with sending dreams down to everyone who made a wish upon his passing fiery vessel (because a granted wish “always begins with a dream,” as the narrator circularly notes). Now Sandy wakes after eons of sleep to sail our planet’s skies on a cloud of golden Dreamsand and assist in chasing away the nightmares plaguing slumbering children. Like the Guardians of Childhood origin tale it succeeds, The Man in the Moon (2011), the plotline and internal logic seem rudimentary next to Joyce’s extravagantly ornate illustrations. Here, amid dramatic curls and swirls of glowing sand, the smiling, newly minted Lord High Protector of Sleep and Dreams cuts a stubby but intrepid figure—topped by a wild
golden mane and surrounded by attentive seashells and lissome, tattooed mermaids—as he does his nighttime work beneath deep fields of stars and a benevolently smiling moon.
The art makes a bigger impression than the story, but the overall tone is appropriately dreamy, and as for that creeping nightmare: “you know it’s not real.” (Picture book. 5-9)