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HOW DOES SLEEP COME? by Jeanne C.  Blackmore


by Jeanne C. Blackmore & illustrated by Elizabeth Sayles

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-402-27105-2
Publisher: Sourcebooks

A sleepy-bye story that doesn’t work on any number of levels, despite Jacob’s starry blanket and sweet-faced mama.

If this is meant to be read to a child going to sleep, the sheer number of words strung together without pauses or commas might make one breathless. Jacob asks the question of the title, and his mama answers, “Sleep comes quietly. Like a snowfall that blankets a meadow on a dark starry night and lays down a soft white canvas for rabbits to leave footprints.” Each one of these overly descriptive sentences is followed by a single line about Jacob snuggling under his covers, yawning or curling up. Readers proceed from the rabbit in the snow to fog in the harbor, summer clouds to a kitten by the fireplace to a butterfly. The rapid change of seasons might signal a universal nighttime, but it is confounded by Jacob’s dream, in which cloud, snow, butterfly and cat come together in the deep blue sky. The pictures are soft, gentle and peaceful, just as the text describes sleep, with their primary hue a blue richly evocative of a country sky. They cannot mitigate the breathless delivery of the text, however.

Any number of sleepy bedtime tales are sleepier and bedtimier than this. (Picture book. 4-7)