Daniel's Dream: Monster Mountain

Synopsis for ‘Daniel’s Dream: Monster Mountain’:
Daniel is a young boy from a ‘normal’ family. He is shy, quiet and worries about things in life. Unlike his sister Darcie, who is outgoing, loud, and confident. Daniel loves bedtime because his imagination, through his dreams, takes him on adventures, where he meets new people and visits new places. His journeys are always something he enjoys. One night, a monster appears in his bedroom, who takes him on an adventure to Monster Mountain. Daniel has always thought monsters were scary, but tonight he learns that they are just like humans; they have feelings and they too worry about things in their lives. When Daniel arrives in Monster Mountain, he is over awed by how beautiful and unique it is.  Dex introduces Daniel to his monster friends. Daniel quickly notices that each monster is individual and unique. Whilst at Monster Mountain, Daniel helps one of the monsters, Shelley, who is really struggling with anxiety. This is something Daniel relates to as he too is worrying about something at school. Daniel teaches Shelley different ways to cope with her anxiety. He, too, must use these skills to get over his own worries about school. Can he overcome his worries and apply the strategies to cope?

The Characters

Dad

He is tall, thin, with short brown hair. He wears glasses, with a small frame. He has a long nose. He has thin lips, that lift slightly when smiling. He looks serious but is kind, family orientated and loves his children. He wears a suit and tie to correlate with his formal job.

Mum

She is medium height, slim. She has sandy brown hair and green eyes. Her nose is small and rounded. Her lips are fuller, like Darcie’s, and her bright white teeth twinkle when she smiles. She smiles a lot. She is kind, loving and uses touch and face expression to show these. Mum has a face that offers reassurance and love. She dresses smart, in skirts and blouses or a dress. She is knowledgeable, inquisitive and is in touch with her children’s emotions. She notices when things are not all as they seem with Daniel or Darcie

Daniel

Daniel is a young boy of 8. He has short brown hair that sweeps to one side. He has dark big brown eyes and a small nose. He has pale skin that has freckles on each cheek. His cheeks go red when he becomes anxious. Daniel is shy, shyer than Darcie. His smile is small and thin but is infectious and can light up when he is happy and calm. When feeling sad, Daniel’s eyes lose their sparkle and his cheek bones lower. His mouth thins. Daniel is a very caring person; he always thinks of others and wants to help where he can. He loves his family and friends. He enjoys the adventures he goes on.

Darcie

Darcie is a young girl of around 6. She has brown hair in pigtails, on the top of her head. She has dark brown eyes, that twinkle with cheekiness. She has a cute button nose that wrinkles when she smiles or sulks. She has pale skin but rosy red cheeks and a beautiful smile that reaches from ear to ear. Her brilliant white teeth are evident when she smiles. Her eyes lower and frown lines are evident when she is grumpy and uncooperative. When she sulks her bottom lip, sticks out.  Darcie is a excitable young girl, who talks a lot, loves her brother Daniel and has a very happy personality.

Mr Grisly

Mr Grisly is tall, old and has a belly. He wears a suit, white shirt, tie, and a cardigan under his suit jacket. He has grey hair and wears glasses. His mouth is straight and does not give away any emotion.  He has a warming smile. He is firm but friendly. The children enjoy him being a teacher. Readers assume he is grumpy because of his name.

Dex

The monster was corn yellow, with an egg-shaped body that had two spindly long eyes sticking out the top of his head. A long, ruby red tongue slipped in and out of his mouth. Strangely, he wore a pair of denim blue jeans that looked like they belonged on a human not a monster, but no t-shirt.  Dex plays an especially important role in monster village as one of the monsters who seems to be in charge. He is controlled, caring, friendly and listens well to the other monsters. He is approachable and knows the other monsters’ strengths and weaknesses. He wants to be able to help everyone and will often prompt this.

Bessie

Bessie represents OCD. Bessie is a character who likes this to be just so. She wants things to be perfect. This is emphasised in her characteristics. She is symmetrical, perfect looking and has no difference from the left side to the right. She wants things to be tidy, clean and in their place. She can’t help how she feels, and she struggles to control it. This impacts her daily life and she sometimes misses out on activities with her friends. She fears if she does not do certain routines then something bad might happen.

Charm

Charm is long, brown, and tall. He is smart and charming. He had brilliant blue horns coming out of his head, golden yellow oversized teeth and a long brown body that was met with a tiny pair of denim shorts. Charm doesn’t suffer with any mental health issues. He is highly intelligent, likes to learn and is eager to participate. Despite his appearance seemingly scary, he is the total opposite. This is to demonstrate that we should never judge people by what they look like. He takes a leadership role alongside Dex.

Octo

Octo represents ADHD. Octo is purple in colour. He has orange spangly, long arms that reach to the floor. They come from 1/3 of the way down his body. He has short legs with only 3 toes on each. He has one eye bigger than the other at the front of his face. He is hyperactive and moves a lot. He twitches and can’t sit still. He talks a lot. He should represent the traits of ADHD. He struggles to maintain concentration and fidgets constantly. His eyes are constantly moving and twitching. Octo will interrupt conversations and shows he is unable to wait his turn. He can struggle to follow instructions.

Ruby

Ruby is friendly. She has red body that has green spots on her. She has a smile that is wide and full of teeth. She has two eyes that come out of her head. She has a bubbly personality and is often eager to help her monster friends. She is well liked and brings the monsters together. She looks more ordinary that the other monsters. She doesn’t suffer with any mental health issues. The other monsters see her as someone who is friendly, they can trust her, and she will listen to her fellow monsters. She is happy, excitable, and has a positive attitude.

Shelley

Shelley represents anxiety. Shelley is a timid, quiet character who worries a lot about things. At times, she is fearful and panics. She often doesn’t know why she feels this way and can struggle to express how she feels.When her worries get to much, she feels sick, she gets trembles, she becomes sweaty and tearful. She can become irritable, struggles to sleep, and gets butterflies in her belly. Beyond her anxiety, she is a friendly, helpful, and caring monster. She wants to be involved but struggles to overcome her fears. She is well liked and has some great ways to help the other monsters, but she needs to believe in herself and work on her confidence.

Shadow

Shadow feels a great sadness at a huge loss in her life. Her grief is evident a lot, but there are times when it comes and goes in waves. There are times when it grows, and she really struggles to cope with her emotions. There are also times when it shrinks, and she can cope with daily life. When she is feeling particularly sad, she withdraws from people. Shadow has trouble sleeping, she can feel angry towards the emotions she is feeling, and this can result in lashing out at others. She has lost her appetite and it is the other monsters who must encourage her to take care of herself. There are times she can’t think straight or make decisions.

Slick

Small, cute looking monster. She is emerald green, with big, beautiful eyes, and bright pink arms and legs. Her arms are long enough to give out hugs.  Out of the top of her head were two pink antennas with love hearts lovingly sat on the top. Slick likes items that are hers. She is particular about keeping things and maintaining what is hers. Slick can become very frustrated and stressed. She is fiercely independent, struggles to accept help from others and can jump from friendships groups. She is unable to problem solve, she isn’t self-aware and lacks confidence.

Spirit

He was bright blue, with yellow spangly arms and legs. He had unique yellow spikes sticking out of the top of his head, each one different. Spirit doesn’t suffer with any mental health issues. He is a bubbly character. He embraces life, has an incredibly positive outlook on life and wants to spread his positivity to all the monsters. He is a great listener, cares for his friends and wants to get the most out of everyone. He likes fitness and thinks exercise is great for mental agility.

Wallop

Wallop struggles to control his anger. There are signs when he becomes angry of his hair standing to firm, spiky attention. His heart beats faster, and he tenses his hands into fists. He clenches his teeth, tenses his muscle and his stomach churns. He feels out of control and really struggles to control how he feels. He sees a red mist and needs time to calm down and reflect on what has happened. He can become violent towards items, but not to his monster friends. His friends know that he battles with anger, and they want to help him.

NB: Other characters will appear in future books.

Tanya – Primary Teaching Assistant SEMH special school

This warm, imaginative book has a clear message that everyone is different and that it’s ok to be unique. Daniels dream is instantly appealing as you can really relate to how Daniel is feeling. It is explained in a way that children can understand describing his feeling as butterfly’s in his tummy. Daniel’s dream takes you on an uplifting adventure with wonderfully expressive descriptions of the characters perfectly capturing body language and gestures enabling young readers to understand how the characters are feeling throughout the book. Simple text effectively describes mental heath and guides children to explore different techniques and coping strategies. Daniels Dream can be used in a classroom environment to prompt discussions about how everyone is different and how to treat and help others. It is sure to help young people develop important skills of empathy and emotional intelligence.

Michael – Parent

"A heart-warming story about overcoming fears with a message of sharing problems and worries and not going through things alone."

Anna – Parent

"Whilst my son was going to sleep, I could hear him breathing in and out. I asked him what he was doing. He said he was trying to calm down and breathing in and out whilst counting to 10. I said very good, who taught you that? He said he got it from Daniel's Dream."

S J HUDSON – Children’s Author

"This story is beautifully written and provides a platform for older primary school children to discuss any worries or fears that they may have.

It promotes confiding in a trusted figure, or a group of friends with a worry and being able to overcome it together. A perfect example of ‘A problem shared is a problem halved’.

Daniel’s story is inspiring and encouraging, it allows children to explore their own mental well-being in an appropriate manner, a story which most definitely deserves a spot on your child’s bookshelf!"

Max

I loved this book because it was very funny and informative. I would recommend this book because it is amazing and funny.

Oliver

I like this book because it was funny, happy, and silly. My favourite character was Daniel because he always tells people the best way to deal with butterflies. I would recommend it because it is about dreams.

Ethan – Aged 8

I like this book because it is funny and good. My favourite character is the monster who got up and Daniel I would recommend this book.  

Sam – Aged 9 

I like it because it makes you get over your fear. It was very funny and kind. It was very good because it has kind people and friends. Yes, to my family and friends because it will make you get over your fears.

Erin – Aged 9

I liked it because it had good detail and descriptions of the monsters. My favourite character is Shadow and Shelley. I would recommend this because it is a good book. I would recommend it to my friends.  

Max – Aged 8

I really liked Daniel’s Dream because it was funny. It actually helps you if you have butterflies. Yes I would recommend this book to my friends because it was funny with some of the characters.  

Evie – Aged 8

I enjoyed this book because it was loving but a funny story, that you can share with everyone. It is a book that will help you to breathe and think. I would recommend this book to 4-12-year olds.  

Elaina – Aged 8

A very good book which had a lot of parts I liked. My favourite part was when Daniel found his confidence because I sometimes feel nervous too but, I still manage to do it. I would recommend it to children aged 5-7 because it would help them be confident, while also being able to enjoy the book.  

Ruth Gerrard

I really enjoyed how this text made issues like anxiety, nerves, and stress approachable topics of conversation.  As I was reading it, I could see children nodding their heads and identifying with the feelings of Daniel and some of the other characters.  It prompted strong class discussion about emotions, friendship, and a growth mind-set.  With humour and some lovely artwork, it’s a good book for opening discussion and prompting children to reflect on their own emotions as well as those of others around them.   I think we can all identify with Daniel and think about the words we use to encourage others around us to do something, even if it’s something we find hard.  Having the book split into chapters allows for pauses to discuss poignant moments and to really put yourself in Daniel’s position.  It would work for Guided Reading or as a class novel.  Who knows where Daniel’s dreams might take him next?

Year 4 teacher

Paul Hill

From a therapeutic perspective it touches a lot of areas – self-acceptance, acceptance of others courage to disclose, negative beliefs about self-internal and external support, encouragement, anxiety and so many other aspects.  An enjoyable fruitful tale about sharing fears, embracing friendship, recognising, and celebrating difference, commonality and valuing one’s unique self.

Counsellor and Therapist

Claire McDonald

In my profession, it is hard to find a book that is based around a KS2 age range. Daniel’s Dream is perfect for reading to older primary pupils, letting them listen to the way Daniel is feeling and having those discussions around children’s mental health. Understanding that those feelings are valid and most important, that those feelings are normal. I think Leanne has captured that beautifully within her story. I look forward to reading Daniel’s next dream.

Family intervention coordinator