We have rascals and robbers and cheaters
And fibbers and squealers and rotters
But out of them all there is nobody meaner
Than Englebert Sneem and his
Dream Vacuum Cleaner
This story cracks me up. Daniel Postgate is generally a pretty reliable author, but with Engelbert Sneem (published in the U.S. as Engelbert Sneem and His Dream Vacuum Machine) he has outdone himself. This story has everything you could ask for: funny names, an outlandish protagonist, a story that is “creepy” without being genuinely frightening to children, wonderful vocabulary, a fantastic rhyme scheme, and a great lesson that does NOT supersede the even better storytelling.
Postgate clearly know exactly how to illustrate his story to its best effect, as he creates an Engelbert Sneem who is evil in a ridiculous, slightly elf-like way. Children will be drawn in as Sneem sneaks around at night, stealing the dreams of innocent children and stashing them away in his dungeon. But never fear—Mr. Sneem is about to find out in the most appropriate way exactly why his dream-stealing is a bad idea . . .
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