This odd compendium of story, song lyrics and advice to parents misses the mark as a prescription for sweet dreams.
The beginning and ending scenes focus on a little boy who is having difficulty getting to sleep. He concentrates on counting imaginary giants as a way to relax, enumerating groups of different giants from a pair up to six and then back down to another pair of huge creatures, shown with just their feet sticking out from a red blanket. The rhyming text in these sequences is quite sing-song and doesn’t scan well, possibly as a result of having been translated from the original German. The giants themselves have an eerie, nightmarish quality in the illustrations, which are done in a loose, cartoonlike style in watercolor and pencil. The activities of the giants are nonsensical, as in a dream, showing them on rooftops or coming out of a huge watering can. The words to a song are also provided, urging “happy thoughts” and repeated deep breathing, though there is no music included, and the words don’t readily transfer to a familiar melody. Two pages of advice to parents on getting children to sleep finish it off.
Strange giants, sing-song rhymes and generic psychological advice don’t add up to a soothing bedtime read. (Picture book. 3-5)