Animal parents lull their offspring to sleep in this uneven German import.
Each dyad, from a giraffe and its calf to a duck and a duckling, is featured on its own page and paired with a rhyming couplet. The final duo is a human mother and child snuggled up together. While it has a soothing cadence, the translated verse is often forced. Some lines are delightful: “Are you sleeping, little puppy, / Dozing on paws soft and fluffy?” Others are stiff: “Are you sleeping, little flamingo, / Balancing on one leg under soft moon glow?” Német’s gentle paintings, in what looks to be watercolor, are appropriately cozy, but the pages seem jammed together and don’t flow across the page-spreads. Particularly jarring is the image of the kangaroo and joey in the dry Outback jutting up against the watery picture of a fish and its little one. This feels like a paler knock-off of Mem Fox and Jane Dyer’s classic Time for Bed (1993) or Diane Muldrow and Jui Isida’s more recent Somewhere So Sleepy (2010).
The animal-babies-at-bedtime format has been done before with better success. (Board book. 6 mos.-3)