You won’t want to wake up….

Nightmares! (Nightmares!, #1)Nightmares! by Jason Segel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nightmares! is a fun little book about a scary subject. Charlie Laird lives in an imposing purple mansion in Cypress Creek with his dad, little brother Jack and his stepmother, Charlotte. When we meet Charlie, he is not sleeping well. He is plagued by nightmares every night about a witch who wants to eat him. Is the house haunted? As the dreams continue, Charlie becomes convinced that his stepmother is also a witch, who is somehow helping the witch from his nightmare. To make matters worse, it looks like the witch has kidnapped Jack so she can cook him up for her dinner!
One night after waking from a particularly terrifying nightmare, Charlie sees the witch running into the forest with Jack thrown over her shoulder. One thing is even stranger, the forest is where the wall of his stepmother’s studio used to be. Without thinking, Charlie races after them and into an amazing adventure where he must rescue Jack, and others, from the Netherworld – the world of nightmares.
Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller have penned a little gem. This story has just the right balance of dark humour, pathos and heart-warming moments to hold the attention of any child. Charlie got on my nerves a bit at the start, but I guess that was the idea – to allow the reader to see just how weird and irrational he was becoming. Charlie’s friends, particularly Paige and Alfie, are fabulous and a wonderful foil to Charlie’s lack of self-awareness. They call him on his over the top behaviour and don’t let him get away with much (as best friends are supposed to).
Because this is a book for children, there are happy endings (for some) and they are reached in a way that teaches the child reader a lesson without beating them over the head with it (always a plus in my book). There is a sequel on the way, so it will be interesting to see how that develops. Not all the ends were tied up, so there is definitely scope for more to happen in the Netherworld.
For ages 8 and up

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