Monday, April 29, 2019

Review - There's a Nightmare in My Closet

There's a Nightmare in My Closet
by Mercer Mayer
Date: 1968
Publisher: Dial Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

The pesky nightmare in the closet won't stay in there at night, even with the door closed all the way. When he gets out, what do you do? Comfort him and put him to bed, of course! The ultimate afraid-of-the-dark story has helped generations of kids deal with the nightmares in their own closets. A perennial favorite.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I'm conflicted. For what it is, and taking into account when it was written, it's a cute story.

However, we live in an age of school shootings and people thinking that guns will solve all their problems. Showing a child solving the problem of a nightmare by shooting it with a rifle might not play well to a 21st-century audience. In this case, yes, it's a toy gun. But there are kids out there with real guns, and I don't think we should be encouraging them to shoot at things that come through the door.

From a 1960s perspective? This is probably a four-star book. The way the boy comforts the nightmare (the poor thing just got shot at, after all; he's allowed to be upset) is sweet.

From a 2010s perspective? The kid shouldn't have been shooting nightmares in the first place. And since the nightmare isn't really a bad guy, there could've been other ways of handling the conflict in the story.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 3 out of 5

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