Join our mailing list!
Get our latest book recommendations, author news, and competitions right to your inbox.
A Reading Group Guide to The Guardians, Book 4: The Sandman and the War of Dreams
By William Joyce Discussion Questions
1. What are the characteristics of a Guardian? Compare and contrast the characteristics of the other Guardians to Sandman Mansnoozie. Do you think Sandman has what it takes to be a Guardian?
2. Discuss the encounter between Pitch and his daughter, Mother Nature. How would one describe the relationship between them? For example, when Pitch says with a sneer, “Yes, my daughter, I will not touch her (Katherine),” what does this tell you about Pitch?
3. As a Star Captain, Sandy was honor bound to send a dream powerful enough for the person receiving it to remember it and guide them in their quest to make that dream come true. Have you or anyone you know had a dream that was powerful enough to change their life?
4. What did Lord Pitch do to the Dream Pirates when he caught them? Why did the Dream Pirates consider this treatment a weakness? Was Lord Pitch able to maintain his judgment and composure throughout the battles?
5. What happened to Lord Pitch to turn him from a gentleman of the Golden Age to a ruthless murderer? As a true gallant, humane, and compassionate general, would Lord Pitch execute his murderous sentence to the pirates without a thorough investigation? Did he feel like he conducted one? Do you?
6. Describe Emily Jane as a child in the Golden Age. What horrific scene did she witness during the Dream Pirates’ attack on her home? What characteristics did Emily Jean have that helped her survive this incident? Who was the first to help Emily Jean and how did their relationship evolve?
7. The constellation Typhan was a powerful ally during the Golden Age. What did the Dream Pirates do to him? How was his helping Emily Jane during her time of need beneficial to him?
8. As a human child living on the constellation Typhan, where does Emily Jane find the resources needed to survive?
9. What happened on Emily Jane’s sixteenth birthday that sent her into a rage? How did she react? What did Typhan do to Emily Jane? Who rescued Emily Jane and how?
10. As Sandman told the Guardians Pitch’s backstory, the Guardians began to see a side of Pitch they had never known. What did the Guardians learn? Why had Katherine felt pity toward Pitch?
11. What was inside shooting stars that made them so valuable to the Dream Pirates? What did the Dream Pirates do with the precious cargo?
12. What did Sandman use to make friends with the starfish in the sky? How did this friendship benefit Sandy in his attempt to help Emily Jane?
13. What event happens on the day that Emily Jane learned that Lord Pitch had won the war against the Dream Pirates and that the Golden Age was safe again? How did Sandman help Emily Jane in time to prevent her from becoming a sun?
14. While working with Sandman on granting wishes, Emily Jane learned that all the wishes had a central theme. She says, “I think all wishes are the same really . . . what they are really asking for is happiness.” Do you agree with her? When Sandman asked Emily what she would wish for, what did she say?
15. How did the imprisoned Dream Pirates use Emily Jane’s dreams against Lord Pitch? How did this prevent Sandman from granting Emily Jane’s wish?
16. Discuss the significance of the silver locket Emily Jane gave her father before the battle against the Dream Pirates. When the Dream Pirates escaped from Lord Pitch’s power, what happened to the locket?
17. How had Lord Pitch changed physically since he became the leader of the Dream Pirates? How had he changed mentally? Pitch said, “This dream you sent killed my soul and made me what I am now!” How did Emily Jane react? If your father said that to you, how would you feel?
18. After experiencing Sandman’s dream, Nightlight touched the sand in Mr. Qwerty’s book. He placed a few grains of sand to his head, and it calmed him and gave him a bit of the “knowing.” He now understood his friends were hurting from the loss of Katherine. How did he use this knowledge to help his friends find a way to save Katherine?
19. Katherine, as a captive, watched in horror as all her stories were torn from her book. Her entire history was taken away by Pitch. Is it possible for someone to steal another person’s story?
20. Tsar Lunar said that there were five relics from the past that were needed to defeat Lord Pitch. The Guardians only had three of the relics. What did the Guardians use to try to create the power necessary to make the village of North’s dream come true? Who was the one who had the knowledge to make the dream come true?
21. Discuss the relationship between Sandy and Emily Jane. What do you make of Emily’s comment to Sandy, “I can stand anyone’s tears but yours”?
22. Discuss the transformation of North’s “New City to the North.” Discuss the dividing of Big Root, how the city was transported, how it landed, and also how North’s dream went from imagination to reality with no one knowing about the changes he had made from the original plan.
23. As North’s village was being built, Ombric realized that North was now more powerful than he. He says, “His pupil was now the master. But that’s how it should be.” Discuss the changing roles of family members as they age. For example, how the child becomes the parent and vice versa.
24. There were many obstacles to Katherine’s rescue. Discuss the many ways Sandman used his Guardian’s power to make a successful rescue. Who came to help him? What did moonbeam remember and what background information on Pitch and Nightlight did it provide? How was Nightlight’s dagger made? What was so special about this dagger? What did Sandman and Nightlight think of the rescue of Katherine and why?
25. What is “The Magic Kiss of Good Night”? How does it relate to this story?
26. Nightlight used his power and thus he could not stay a Nightlight. For once he was able to dream. What was the result of Nightlight sleeping?
27. Discuss the theory of nature versus nurture, then compare and contrast Emily Jane and Katherine.
28. Both Katherine and Emily Jane have experienced the feeling of being abandoned. How did they cope with their situation? Did one have a better outcome from her experience than the other?
29. Discuss the importance of friendship in this book. What exactly is friendship? Does friendship just happen or is it a gradual process? Were the Guardians all friends immediately or did it take them a while to appreciate one another?
30. While taming a wild star, Sandman was patient, and in time, it learned to trust him. Sandman said, “A friend is like a savior to one so angry and lost.” What does he mean?
31. Emily Jane feared her father had changed so much for the worse that he would not be able to be saved. Is it possible for someone to be saved? How would one attempt to help someone become a better person? Is there hope for Lord Pitch? Activities
1. Research dreams in the library or on the Internet. What are they? Describe the different types of dreams. What are nightmares?
2. Sandman’s island has special properties. What are they? Compare and contrast Sandman’s island to a real island on the earth.
3. The importance of friendship is a strong theme in this story. Make a list of the different friendships in this story. Choose one of these friendships and write a letter from the point of view of one of the friends to the other explaining why their friendship means so much to him/her.
4. Love versus Hate is another theme in this story. Compile a list of events in the book that signify love and compile another list that signify hate. Compare the two lists. What do you learn from these examples? Are there more examples of love or hate on the lists?
5. Describe the characteristics of Emily Jane and do the same for Lord Pitch. What do these two characters have in common? How are they different? Make a graph showing the differences and the similarities between daughter and father.
6. What are Fearlings? What are they afraid of? Write a short story about a Fearling and his/her fears. What keeps the fear away for him/her?
7. Make dark and white moon cookies. Decorate one side of a cookie with white chocolate and the other side with dark chocolate to resemble the moon. Why is one side of the moon dark and the other light?
8. Using sand, make a model of Sandman Mansnoozie’s island. Refer to the illustrations and the written description in the book for assistance in making the island.
9. North had chosen the North Pole for his village. Bunnymund remembered magnetizing the North Pole. Research what makes the North Pole magnetized. Use magnets to help demonstrate what happens when something is magnetized.
10. What is a lullaby? Why do parents sing them? Write a lullaby that describes Sandman Mansnoozie and his abilities to keep nightmares away. Sing the song to your friends. Guide prepared by Lynn Dobson, librarian at East Brookfield Elementary School, East Brookfield, MA. 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.