Closet of Dreams

Closet of Dreams
Co-Authors / Illustrators
  • Tara Mesalik MacMahon
Publisher Name
Age Range
Release Date
March 27, 2024
In “Closet of Dreams” (March 2024), the debut title in “The Adventures of Child and Gamma” chapter book series, brother and sister co-authors Mark Ukra and Tara Mesalik MacMahon tell young readers, “When your fears disappear, your dreams appear!

An aspiring pitcher with a mean fastball, nine-year-old Child wants nothing more than to be on his local little league team. But the team is dwindling and to make matters worse, Child has a gang of bullies targeting him. He confides in his grandmother, Gamma, and she sends him to the Closet of Dreams, a place she invented for Child so that he’d have a safe place to go when he gets scared.

A star-pitcher back in her day, Gamma now works at the Kids Park where retired circus animals spend their days. When Child sees his animal friends have hidden talents, he turns to them for help. Can Child put his fears aside and save his team?

In this charming chapter book, readers will delight in a magical story of friendship and talking animals. The authors were inspired by their own childhood’s “closet of dreams,” where the make-believe world of Child and Gamma originally came to life.

Editor review

1 review
Friendship and forgiveness
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
What worked:
The plot is presented in simple language without complications or hidden meanings. It will be very easy to follow for young readers. Child is bullied at school and he finds ways to avoid after-school confrontations with Eddie and his gang. It doesn’t always work as Eddie thinks Child ratted him out to the principal. Child finds refuge from these stressful situations and storms by entering a closet holding positive memories, like his grandmother’s old baseball jersey. The closet allows Child to escape his fears and direct his attention on pursuing his dreams.
Child enjoys caring for the former circus animals at the park where they’re given the freedom to roam the grounds. The elephant, hippo, and bear still wear costumes from their performing days and they enjoy their lives at the park. As the synopsis points out, the animals can talk although that’s not revealed until the story has moved along a bit. The plot begins as regular, realistic fiction but gradually becomes a make-believe tale of a boy and his animal friends.
Child lives with his grandmother, Gamma, and they display a very close bond. They don’t have much money so they help out at the Kid’s Park and are allowed to live free in a basement. Child tells her about all of his problems and Gamma helps him handle the stress or offers suggestions on what he might do. She supports his efforts to finally join a little league baseball team and helps him find a solution when the season is in doubt. Together, they present a loving boy and his grandmother for young readers to enjoy.
What didn’t work as well:
The story may be overly uncomplicated for more mature readers as everything falls into place without much fuss. Child’s anxiety doesn’t develop into a problem as it’s eased by going into the Closet of Dreams or remembering advice he’s been told. In addition, the idea of animals playing baseball doesn’t shock anyone, not even a little bit, yet Child promises to not reveal they can also talk.
The final verdict:
This book best fits students in the third and fourth grades. It’s a sweet, pleasant story that shares Child’s common challenges in an easy-to-read, fast-paced, tender way. I recommend this book for young, emerging readers.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account