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There’s A Nightmare In My Closet
Written & Illustrated by Mercer Mayer 

Review by: Monica Barker

As a child, I was never a big fan of Mercer Mayer’s books. As an adult, though, I’ve grown to love his dry, and somewhat dark, sense of humor. 

     There’s A Nightmare In My Closet is a quick read, told from the point of view of a little boy who actually catches his “nightmare” sitting at the foot of his bed. He shoots it with his popgun and makes it cry. The picture of the crying nightmare is my personal favorite. When the boy can’t get his nightmare to stop crying, he tucks it into his own bed. It’s hard to be mad at something that big when it’s sitting in the middle of your bedroom floor in tears. At the request of nightmare number one, the closet door is closed again. Our boy tucks himself back in bed. When the lights are off, we see yet another nightmare peeking out. 

     There’s A Nightmare In My Closet is a Mayer classic. I usually think of reading it around Halloween, because of the big, goofy monster that is the nightmare. But, it’s actually a great bedtime story to read at home to help chase away fears of the dark. Young children will easily empathize with the boy (who tells the story in the first person) and can be comforted by his experience. 

      I also recommend There’s A Nightmare In My Closet for the lead-off in a circle time discussion, with 4 to 7 year-olds, about all kinds of things that scare us and how everyone deals with them differently. I think it puts a humorous twist on a subject that may be hard to talk about in a group of children without actually scaring one of them.

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