The Sandman

The Story of Sanderson Mansnoozie

Illustrated by William Joyce
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About The Book

The second picture book in Academy Award winner William Joyce’s The Guardians of Childhood series, The Sandman tells the true story of the keeper of dreams.

One foggy night, the Man in the Moon has a startling thought: When the moon is less than full and bright, who will keep children safe at night? He needs a backup plan! Or a backup Guardian, as it were. His keen eye falls upon a sleepy little fellow living on a sleepy little island who is a sweet-dreamer extraordinaire. Since good dreams always trump bad ones, this means Pitch, the Nightmare King, will be further thwarted in his nefarious quest to terrorize children. Indeed, Sanderson Mansnoozie seems the perfect choice. But there are two problems. Firstly, given that Sandy has never had a bad dream, how can MiM convince him how important this new role is to the happy-being of children everywhere? And secondly, how can MiM keep this snoozy ally awake long enough to help?

This follow-up to the New York Times bestselling The Man in the Moon, called “dazzlingly inventive” by Publishers Weekly, introduces us to the sleepy little fellow to whom we all owe many a good nights’ rest, the second Guardian of Childhood, the Sandman.

Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide for:

The Sandman: The Story of Sanderson Mansnoozie
By William Joyce

Discussion Questions

1. Before you read this book, what did you know about the Sandman? How did you learn about him? Has your perception of the Sandman changed after reading this story?

2. Is it true “a wish always begins with a dream”? Do all wishes come from dreams? Explain.

3. Does the constellation Orion compare in any way to Pitch, the Nightmare King?

4. How did the wishes of the children from Earth help Sanderson when he was attacked by Pitch and his minions?

5. When Sanderson was attacked by Pitch, it was the first time Sandy had felt fear. What is fear? What puts fear into one’s heart? What is your greatest fear? What do you do when you are frightened? Discuss ways to cope with scary situations.

6. Sandy was stranded on his sand dune. How was Sandy able to learn what fears children of the earth have? How did this knowledge help Sandy help the children?

7. The second time Sandy felt fear was when he realized he would have to face Pitch the Nightmare King in order to help the children of Earth. What activity did he need to do to help him plan a course of action that allowed him to help the children?

8. What is a lullaby? What is the purpose of a lullaby? Has anyone sung a lullaby to you? If so, how did this music make you feel?

9. The mermaids, travelers of the sea, were determined to help Sandy, a traveler of the ocean of the sky. Compare and contrast the ocean of the sky to the ocean of the sea.

10. The Sandman is noted for his ability to help children sleep. What is his secret for protecting the children?

11. What is the relationship between the Man in the Moon and Sanderson Mansnoozie?


1. Research the constellation Orion. Where is it located in the sky? What does it look like? Using a child-friendly version of the story of the constellation Orion, discuss how the story relates to The Sandman.

2. Have students research shooting stars in books or on the internet.

3. Have the students make up a lullaby to accompany the words the mermaids sang to ease Sandy’s restless mind.

4. When Sandy’s shooting star crashed into the ocean, there appeared above Sandy’s head sand swirling into shapes that were peaceful and soothing. Using colored sand, have the students create soothing and peaceful images.

5. Have the students interpret what Sandy’s sand castle looked like by allowing them to make their own sand castle.

6. Have the students research sea turtles. How prevalent are they? Do they have an important function in life? Where are they found?

7. Bring in a conch shell and allow the students the opportunity to experience the call of the sea. Discuss various uses of seashells. Using seashells, allow the students to create jewelry, interesting designs, or sculptures.

8. Have the students write a thank-you note to His Nocturnal Magnificence, Sanderson Mansnoozie, Sandman the 1st, Lord High Protector of Sleep and Dreams.

Guide written by Lynn Dobson

This guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

About The Author

photograph (c) Tony Reans

William Joyce does a lot of stuff but children’s books are his true bailiwick (The Guardians, Dinosaur Bob, George Shrinks, and the #1 New York Times bestselling The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, which is also his Academy Award–winning short film, to name a few). He lives in Shreveport, Louisiana. Talk to William Joyce and look at upcoming work at @HeyBillJoyce on Twitter and Instagram.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (October 2012)
  • Length: 48 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781442430426
  • Grades: P - 3
  • Ages: 4 - 8
  • Lexile ® AD790L

Raves and Reviews

"A pleasant nighttime read, and the illustrations of tattooed mermaids, heroic constellations, and the golden Sandy himself are worth poring over time and again. Grown-ups and children alike will savor this book’s rich, old-fashioned charms."

– Booklist

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More books from this author: William Joyce

More books in this series: The Guardians of Childhood