Lara's's Reviews > The Sandman

The Sandman by Ralph Fletcher
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Oct 11, 08

bookshelves: picture-books
Recommended for: Parents and children to 3rd grade.
Read in September, 2008, read count: 1

Synopsis : A tiny, sleepless man discovers that sand made from a dragon's scale will send him to dreamland and begins carrying this magical sand to children each evening to give them the gift of sleep.
Review : When I first picked up this fantasy book I was very charmed by the idea that the tiny piece of sand found in the corner of your eye in the morning came from the Sandman. What a wonderful, clever beginning to this story. The illustrations by Richard Crowdery are fantastic and bring to life this impish little man's world with the use of a thimble as drinking glass, a soup ladle as a bathtub, a spool of thread as a table, etc. The animals of the forest are large and great for children to name off as their parents read the story.
The story is about the Sandman (TOR) who is suffering from sleep deprivation, he finds a dragons scale on the forest floor one day. One side is rough so he files it down in his workshop. While filing TOR discovers that the dust makes him sleepy. When he wakes up he decides to give the gift of sleep to children by sprinkling the "magic sand" on their eyes at night. The true excitement of the story comes when TOR runs out of the magical sand and has to return to the dragon's lair for more scales. Again, the illustrations of the dragon are great (kind of scary for little, little ones) but, very powerful and full of color. As is explained, dragons live forever so there is no concern of running out of scales. Parents might be stuck with answering how TOR manages to stay awake, sanding down the scales in his workshop though...special dragon scale face filter?
On a darker note, I felt a little tinge of sadness reading this book. I want the very sweet idea of this story to overpower my darker impressions that unfolded. However, there are some aspects of this story that I cannot help but be a little concerned with--(which is most likely due to my recent viewing of the Oprah show speaking about people who use sleeping medication to harm children). Basically, you have an sweet adult who gives children "special magical sand" to help them go to sleep. I'd like to ignore the darker implications but, felt it should be mentioned. I'm sure there are a million books which -in the wrong hands-could be turned into something unsavory.
Critical Reviews :
School Library Journal This review mirrors most of my initial positive impressions of this story with a hearty nod to the wonderful little details that make up the illustrations.
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message 1: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Evans Excellent description and review.

Yes, there is a dark side to most tales we tell children, isn't there? Now I have to go find that Oprah episode!


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