cover image The Dreamatics

The Dreamatics

Michelle Cuevas. Rocky Pond, $18.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-593-53222-5

A mythical theater troupe known as the Dreamatics performs dreams for a sleeping child each night until tragedy strikes in the real world, in this evocative and inventive fantasy by Cuevas (The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole). Dormir is a stagehand at the majestic Lunarian Grand Theatre, home to the Dreamatics. Dormir adores the job, which sometimes involves making sure the weather closet stays closed so that winter doesn’t creep onto the stage unbidden. He especially loves helping the group perform the dreams of nearly 11-year-old Luna. But when Luna experiences sudden hardship in the waking world, her dreamscape—and the troupe’s performance—undergoes a drastic change from fanciful visions to frightening nightmares. If Dormir hopes to set the theater back to rights and help Luna dream in peace once again, he must figure out how to reverse things. Irresistibly rendered worldbuilding and delightfully limned, seldom-described characters buoy serious interrogations on trauma, its effects on mental health, and the process of healing. By utilizing lush yet conversational prose, Cuevas addresses each difficult topic and lesson with sincerity and care, allowing ample space for introspective rumination alongside joy-filled antics. Ages 8–12. (Sept.)