no more bad DREAMS children’s book review

This post was originally shared May 23, 2011.

 Little M has been having bad dream after bad dream.  Some weeks she wakes up at least once every night.  It is terrible for her. . .and exhausting for me!  We found these wonderful children’s books and worked some activities around them.  I thought I would show you the review before I reveal the cool things we did!

bad dreams

The Dream Jar

by Lindan Lee Johnson  illustarted by Serena Curmi

I love, love, love this book.  I was immediately drawn to the pictures.  The illustrations are fun and unique.  They are colorful and playful.  This is the type of book that I imagine pulling art from to hang on the wall.  The story has so many wonderful characteristics.  First, the little girl is told that it is her fabulous imagination that causes the dreams.  (I know Little M’s vividly creative stories follow her into bedtime.)  It is the older sister who so skillfully helps cure the bad dreams.  (I love sibling cooperation.)

The answer to her problem is shifting her imagination. . .she holds the key. (Yeah!)  As if all of that is not enough, this book leads to an awesome little project!!!!  Make sure to see our take on The Dream Jar!

There’s a Nightmare in My Closet

By Mercer Mayer

This book takes a silly look at the bad dream problem.  The main character figures out how to keep his nightmare from getting out of control.  Once he takes action, the nightmare turns into a very sad and vulnerable mess.

I love the kind-hearted solution to keeping nightmares at bay (and tucked in tight). We made our own Nightmare Bed.


by John Rocco

Moonpowder is another winner.  The art is beyond gorgeous and the story is captivating.  It is a wonderful take on a little boy’s reluctance to sleep because of the lack of sweet dreams.  Eli Treebuckle (the main character) is the “fixer of all things fixable”, his dreams are no exception.

John Rocco is my new favorite writer/illustrator, and I can’t wait to get back to the library to see just what else he has written. Check out our sweet dream collector.

Click here to see DREAM LESSON PLAN.  Do you have a favorite DREAM book?

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all opinions are mine. Read the fine print.


  1. I love the illustrations, will check out these. I do a regular feature on my blog:Book Sharing Mondays. I would love it if you linked up 🙂

  2. We love Silly Billy by Anthony Browne. Not a dream book but about a little boy who worries a lot when he goes to bed.

  3. Do you know where I can find the book The Dream Jar? Amazon has it listed for $500! Does anyone know why this is?

    1. I searched it on Amazon and Ebay… I can’t believe they are asking that much. It’s a good book, but not that good! 🙂 I borrowed it from the library. Barnes and Noble offers it on Nook. Otherwise maybe you’ll find it a garage sale and make a ton of money. 😉

  4. Some of causes of sleep disorders are emotional and these emotions are often expressed in bad dreams. Children may be afraid to sleep or wake up and be unable to go back to sleep because of nightmares and bad dreams. I am a child psychotherapist who has written a children’s book for ages three and up, Mommy, Daddy, I Had a Bad Dream! ( to empower children to understand their bad dreams. Joey, a young kangaroo, has a series of bad dreams which his parents lovingly help him to understand. By the last dream, Joey can make sense of it himself and put himself back to bed. Once children realize that bad dreams are caused by upsetting events from the previous day and that they can be seen as puzzles to be solved, they are intrigued and empowered rather than frightened and helpless.

  5. Pingback: Bad Dreams | MommyWorld Blog
  6. A fun one is Sweet Dream Pie by Audrey Wood – in which Grandma reluctantly makes a sweet dream pie for Grandpa, who is hankering for a slice. The dreams are anything but sweet for the neighborhood when all sorts of funny looking critters invade the eaters’ dreams. Illustrations are by Mark Teague, whose work I think is very fun.

  7. My daughter has been having bad dreams. I thought they were just a way to get in to cuddle with mommy. I will try the books and talk with her about these dreams. BTW, did the books and activities work?

    1. Hi Holly! Yes they worked. We did them all pretty much back to back but I think the dream jar had the most impact. It’s kind of morphed into a new bedtime routine. Hubby and I take turns “giving out dreams”. His are really rhymes and sing songy and silly. Mine are more of a short (very short) description of an adventure. We haven’t had bad dreams for a really long time but I think the dreams set the right tone for a peaceful sleep.

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