Reviews of children's and young adult books old and new

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Chasing the Nightmares Away

There's a Nightmare in my Closet written and illustrated by Mercer Mayer

This is an old classic that I remember having read to me when I was little and having trouble falling asleep in my new room. A little boy is telling us the story of the nightmare that lived in his closet. He used to be scared of it and would always make sure that the closet door was closed. He was even too scared to sneak a peak at it. One night though he decides to get rid of that nightmare. He turns off the light and is waiting for the nightmare to come out of the closet. When the nightmare does come out of the closet he tells the nightmare to go away or he will shoot it with his pop gun, and then he does shoot it. The nightmare begins to cry and not wanting to wake up his parents the little boy decides to tuck the nightmare in bed with him so he will feel better. The two go to sleep and the little boy thinks there might be another nightmare in the closet but his bed is too small for three.

This is a classic. I have loved this story for many years, and I have read it to children when I was babysitting and they loved it too. The illustrations are wonderful, there is a lot of white space on every page so you can really look at everything the illustrator included. The little boy is drawn in a very cute way (his red feety pj's with a butt flap is adorable) and he is very likable. The nightmare does look intimidating but not scary and it is very sad when he begins to cry. There is about one sentence per page which makes this a great read aloud book, it is very easy to read and hold up the book to show the pictures. I think there is a lot that kids can learn from this story from confronting their fears to being nice to people who are different from you. The story also starts to teach children empathy. They will be able to understand feeling a little scared sometimes sleeping in their room and they will be able to understand wanting to help out someone else who is hurt and upset. All in all this is a great read. If you have not already had a chance pick this one up!

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