Monday, September 26, 2016
Nightmares! by Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller
For a middle grade book, Nightmares! has a fairly standard plot. There are fantastical elements, comedic bits and plenty of lessons to learn, as much of the book’s plot revolves around overcoming great fears. There is also an evil stepmonster who might be a witch and an awesome but spooky purple mansion for good measure.
The villains—the nightmares—make up the best parts of the book with a silly understanding of the real world and the best evil plot. Right above never dying on their evil to-do list is trying Krispy Kreme donuts. Eating at Krispy Kreme is the ultimate to-do item.
Some of the book is frustratingly simple when attempting to build suspense. I found that many mysterious identities were easy to figure out, yet Charlie and his friends would fail to recognize them. In the end, however, this book is intended for late elementary and middle school readers. For its target audience, the book has the right amounts of suspense and laughs.
In the end, this book is surprisingly good. Jason Segel is not an actor I would expect to contribute to a children’s book, but I should not be surprised. Many celebrities these days are unexpectedly writing excellent children’s fiction. Nightmares! is available in print and digital formats.
For a read alike, try Almost Super by Marion Jensen. This book involves superpowers instead of fantastical nightmares, but it has the same young humor and basic life lesson elements.