If the book works, it’s because children will be bored to sleep, but it’s a lot more likely that exhausted adults will...

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THE RABBIT WHO WANTS TO FALL ASLEEP

A NEW WAY OF GETTING CHILDREN TO SLEEP

That this title, originally self-published, became an international bestseller says a lot more about the desperation of parents of sleepless children than it does about the quality of the book.

It opens with a lengthy note to adults that waggishly warns them of its soporific effects and then provides detailed instructions about how to read it. The story that follows is stupendously boring, but that’s clearly intentional. Young Roger the Rabbit really wants to fall asleep, but he can’t—he doesn’t seem to know how. So Mommy Rabbit dispatches him, along with “you,” to see Uncle Yawn. Along the way, “you” and he meet Sleepy Snail and Heavy-Eyed Owl, both of whom impart somnolence tricks. They are so effective that both “you” and Roger are practically asleep even before reaching Uncle Yawn, but somehow the two press on, are sprinkled with “powerful, magical, and invisible sleeping powder,” and then drag themselves back home and conk out. Amateurish illustrations on verso (so negligible that the opening note suggests not showing them) oppose astonishingly text-heavy pages on recto. Key phrases in the text are printed in italic or boldface type, the latter calculated to deliver not-so-subtle subliminal suggestions to “fall asleep now.” Practitioners of yoga will recognize Heavy-Eyed Owl’s standard relaxation techniques.

If the book works, it’s because children will be bored to sleep, but it’s a lot more likely that exhausted adults will succumb before their little ones do . (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-55413-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture...

WHEN I PRAY FOR YOU

Turner adds another title to his picture-book series that highlights the miracles in the mundane (When God Made Light, 2018, etc.).

In the vein of children’s-bookshelf stalwart Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Turner’s rhyming text includes both prayers and life advice for a growing child, beginning with infancy and moving on to adolescence. At times the rhyme and meter are strained, muddling meaning and making the tempo feel occasionally awkward when read aloud. Overall, though, the book executes its mission, presenting Christian theological truths within the rhythmic inspirational text. For this third series installment Turner’s text is paired with a new illustrator, whose bright illustrations of wide-eyed children have great shelf appeal. While David Catrow’s previous illustrations in the series featured effervescent black protagonists, the child in Barnes’ illustrations appears white, though she occupies an otherwise diverse world. While illustrated as a prayer from a mother for her daughter, the text itself is gender neutral.

Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture books. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-52565058-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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This deeply satisfying story offers what all children crave when letting go—security and a trusted companion.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Caldecott Honor Book

SLEEP LIKE A TIGER

The stages and script preceding this child’s passage into dreamland are so appealing they will surely inspire imitation.

When the protagonist announces that she is not sleepy, her wise parents counter that they are not requiring sleep, only pajama-wearing, face-washing and teeth-brushing. She then feels so good that “she loved / …stretching her toes / down under the crisp sheets, / lying as still as an otter / floating in a stream.” Logue’s words lull and caress as parents and child converse about how and where animals sleep. (Many appeared on earlier pages as toys.) Alone, the youngster replays each scene, inserting herself; the cozy images help her relax. Zagarenski’s exquisite compositions are rendered digitally and in mixed-media on wood, offering much to ponder. The paintings are luminous, from the child’s starry pajamas to the glowing whale supporting her sleep journey. Transparent layers, blending patterns, complex textures and wheeled objects add to the sense of gentle movement. The tiger, both the beloved cloth version and the real deal, is featured prominently; it is the child who contributes this example, narrating the connection between strength and rest. When sleep arrives, the stuffed animal is cradled in her arms; she leans against the jungle beast, and he clings to her doll.

This deeply satisfying story offers what all children crave when letting go—security and a trusted companion. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-547-64102-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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