Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
Dream Jumper. Book One, Nightmare Escape, by Greg Grunberg & Lucas Turnbloom.
NYC, Scholastic Press/Graphix, July 2016, hardcover $24.99 (203 [+1] pages), trade paperback $12.99, Kindle $7.99.
In this adventure fantasy recommended for grades 5 to 8, middle school student Ben Maxwell is failing because he keeps falling asleep in classes from exhaustion. He has nightmares every night about monsters chasing him and his school friends. But his friends also have nightmares, and Ben is in them. A rabbit named Lewis tells Ben that he is really a Dream Jumper, with the power to enter others’ nightmares that are sent by the hulking monster Erebus, the lackey of Phobetor, the Nightmare Lord. Lewis teaches Ben how to fight Erebus and his nox minions that thrive off people’s fears.
But it’s all more complicated than that. As Ben’s mother insists that he be tested at a Sleep Clinic for his “disorders”, and Ben demands that Lewis in the Dream World tell him more about what is going on, details emerge that are more science-fictional than fantastic, such as the government’s top-secret Office for Dream Warfare. Just who are Phobetor and Erebus? Who are Lewis and his friends, who are clearly more than just cute furry and feathery talking animals? Will Ben’s classmates from Taft Middle School play a more important part than needing saving from their nightmares? Stay tuned for Book 2.
Fantasy and s-f stories about a separate waking world and a dream world, with a protagonist who is able to travel between the two, go back to at least the 1940s. Two 1940s examples, both for adults, are the novel Slaves of Sleep by L. Ron Hubbard and the short story “Dreams Are Sacred” by Peter Phillips. By making their Dream World more fantastic, with friendly Dream Jumper talking animals like Lewis the rabbit and Mrs. Geomy the gopher, author Grunberg and illustrator Turnbloom have produced a comic-book-format novel that can help preadolescents to discover the worlds of furry literature.