By Neil Gaiman & Art by Mike Dringenberg & Sam Keith
Genre: Graphic Novel, Horror, Fantasy, Supernatural
Reading Level: 9th grade
Interest Level: 11th grade +
Awards: New York Times Best Seller list, Entertainment Weekly’s “100 best reads from 1983 to 2008
Teaser: The Sandman has finally escaped and he is going to take back what is his!
Summary: Dream is one of the seven endless beings. The six other beings are Death, Destiny, Desire, Despair, Delirium, and Destruction. Dream is the Sandman. He controls the dream world and has the power of sand. A magician attempts to capture Death in order to make himself immortal, but instead he captures Dream. The magician keeps Dream in captivity for fear of vengeance. Eventually the magician dies and Dream is left in the hands of the magician’s son, Alex. Dream tricks Alex and escapes. He curses Alex to have never-ending dreams. When he returns to his home, he finds everything destroyed and his items of power gone. He then begins his long journey into finding his powerful objects.
Information about the Author: Wikipedia says, “Neil Richard MacKinnon Gaiman born Neil Richard Gaiman; 10 November 1960) is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre, and films. His notable works include the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book. He has won numerous awards, including the Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker awards, as well as the Newbery and Carnegie medals. He is the first author to win both the Newbery and the Carnegie medals for the same work, The Graveyard Book (2008). In 2013, The Ocean at the End of the Lane was voted Book of the Year in the British National Book Awards.”
Critical Evaluation: I have read other work by Neil Gaiman (My favorite was American Gods). I was surprised when reading the graphic novel at how much I could tell this was Gaiman story. His writing is distinct enough that even the short dialogue he does in this comic is noticeable. The pictures in this graphic novel are more suited to the horror genre. The figures all look very pointy and gaunt. The coloring is very saturated and dark, which totally enhances the horror aspect of the comic. I like how the Endless Beings are not all good. At this point, it is questionable if Dream really is a good guy. That ambiguity is what makes these characters so interesting because their actions are unpredictable.
Curriculum Ties: N/A
Booktalk Ideas: Draw a picture and write your own description of one of the seven Endless metaphysical entities.
Challenge Issues: Violence, Sexual Content, Language
Challenge Resources: Rationale for choosing this book (see “Why Did I Pick This”), Engage students and parents in discussions about intellectual freedom, ALA Library Bill of Rights,Challenge Resources from the American Library Association
Why Did I Pick This: I picked this graphic novel because it is a fun, adventurous story that made a huge impact on the fantasy graphic novel genre. The illustrations are dark and a little twisted and I think that some teens are drawn to the horror genre.
Gaiman, N. (2010). The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes & Nocturnes (New Edition). New York City, NY: Vertigo.