It is almost time for the old and tired Sleepwalkers to return to the waking world. But before they go, they must conjure and train three new replacements. For who else will look after the Sleepwalking House and be there to answer the call of a child frozen stiff with fear, trapped in a nightmare? This is the story of the NEW Sleepwalkers.
I’m a huge fan of Viviane Schwarz’ books (There Are Cats in This Book, Cheese Belongs to You) so you can imagine how excited I was when I read on Twitter that she was working on her very first graphic novel.
The Sleepwalkers is a unique and delightfully strange story about a group of creatures who protect children while they sleep. The Sleepwalkers are conjured from socks, a bedspread and even a quill and are tasked with saving children from their nightmares and bad dreams. When they are created, they find themselves in the Safe House, a many-roomed house that exists in the world of dreams. They leave the Safe House when they are needed and return here after they have completed their mission. When the Sleepwalkers meet the children they are having a nightmare (being chased by rats or falling from the sky), and it is the job of the Sleepwalkers to help them overcome their fears. A nightmare about falling from the sky turns into a dream about flying on the backs of dinosaurs. The story is weird and wonderful, and it’s filled with action and adventure.
Viviane’s style of illustration translates well to this graphic novel format and she lets her imagination run wild in the dream world. One of the reasons I like her illustrations so much is the wonderful expressions she gives her characters and this really shines through in The Sleepwalkers. I love Bonifacius, the bear-like character because he’s got such an expressive face. There are times in the story where doesn’t talk for a page or two and you can tell exactly how he’s feeling because of these expressions.
My favourite thing about The Sleepwalkers (and the thing that makes this graphic novel really special) is the added extras that Viviane has put in the book. You can learn how to make a sock monkey and a banana milkshake, and she’s drawn a detailed diagram of the Safe House and the Turtlemobile.
If you know a kid that’s looking for a new and exciting comic of graphic novel, with plenty of action, adventure and a little bit of magic, then grab a copy of The Sleepwalkers.