The Dream Wizard Conquers His Knight Mare
by Dr. Alexander Randall 5th
Westwood Books Publishing

"Nightmares are the dreaming mind trying to resolve a conflict. Exploring the content of the dream can lead to profound insights into who you happen to be."

A boy named Sandy plays and plants all the time in the great garden in his yard while accompanied by his faithful dog, Rem. And yet, young Sandy is never satisfied, Everywhere he looks there seem to be more weeds in his garden than anything else of value, such as plants for food. His primary concern becomes figuring out how to get rid of all the weeds without doing any work. He sets out on his quest to find magic to do the job.

Along Sandy's journey, we meet such whimsical, outlandish characters as Hermie Garlick, who likes to dynamite and bulldozer over things, and an assortment of other imaginative, quirky, amusing oddballs in and beyond Universe City. All play important parts along Sandy's path towards realizing, in the end, to embrace his inner weed. For example, there's Walter Wizard at the fair, who sends the boy and his dog floating into the air in a giant billowy balloon. Then there's Clara Mee, Sandy's fairy godmother, whose job it is to clarify things. Also making appearances are the Council of Wise Ones in the City of the Future (including Father Chronos, Mother Terra, Queen Anne, and others who represent the plants of the world) and Old Gray, fisher of men, who cultivates his weeds the same way he does all his plants. Eventually, in a darkened nightmare, Sandy comes face to face with the Root of All Monsters and is defeated by the Knight of Darkness.

Finally, an old boatman named Sowers paddles Sandy safely down the rapids of Icy Lake and into the rescue of The Tall One—Reed Sundance—who runs Knight School. Here, travelers who have momentarily stepped outside of time come to learn and study about their dreams, including how to turn the bad dreamy stuff of Nightmares into more pleasant (even fun) dreams one can enjoy. After Sundance's mentorship, the protagonist comes away with an increased understanding of himself, the nature of his dreams, and even weeds.

Randall's fantasy book is chock full of adventure and creative, inspired storytelling. Young readers of this genre should absolutely enjoy it, as will adult readers and anyone looking for something different, unique, and special. The book contains some important life lessons, such as harnessing the best in oneself, the interconnectedness of all life on earth, and environmental stewardship. However, it is also an incredibly fun read. Character-driven and with a momentously intriguing plot, this book is pure escapism. After the main narrative, the author includes an epilogue devoted to advice on how to remember one's dreams, tools to help understand them, and practical advice for dealing with nightmares. What makes Randall's fantasy book unique is that it includes not only a fantastical plot and whimsical, fun characters but also helps the reader with practical, psychological advice on embracing one's dreams, recording them as a regular exercise, and, perhaps most significantly, learning to glean the information and guidance the subconscious is attempting to pass along to the individual to resolve conflict in any number of areas.

Randall's rich background helps inform his work. He is a communications professor at the University of the Virgin Islands and teaches, among other courses, "The Psychology of Sleep." Quite the interesting professor, Randall also is credited with having created the world's first e-commerce business—the Boston Computer Exchange—and establishing a non-profit which distributed computers in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union back during the fall of the Berlin Wall. Of additional interest is the impressive artwork in this book, which was created by Candace Whittemore Lovely, a Boston Impressionist whose accomplishments include having painted the official portrait of Barbara Bush.

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