A cozy combination of restful rhymes, natural history notes and close-up pictures of snoozing creatures.
Meyer’s verse gets ahead of itself in the first stanza—“The sun has set; the sky is dark. / Bright stars shine in the night. / It’s time to rest, to dream sweet dreams, / then wake with morning’s light”—and elsewhere favors sound over sense, but despite these small miscues, its gently rhythmic measures create a properly soporific tone for this look at animal downtimes. As the prose commentary accompanying each of the 14 rhymed entries makes clear, sleeping patterns vary widely, and scientists are often hard put to find them at all: Horses and giraffes tend to take only short naps; grizzly bears can fall into a long sleep that resembles hibernation; dolphins and mallards rest half their brains at a time; fish rest but may not truly sleep. Other animals presented include koalas, owls, flamingos, brown bats, giant anteaters, magnificent frigatebirds, black-tailed prairie dogs and walruses. Meyer nonetheless bids all the chosen creatures “Sweet dreams,” and Caple depicts them in accurate detail and quiet settings yawning (where appropriate) or posed fetchingly with younglings.
Slumber and science in harmonious combination, equally suitable for bedtime reading or for sharing with wakeful groups. (Informational picture book. 5-7)