Following on the unearned success of Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin’s The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep (2015), a slightly more artful take on the same relaxation techniques.
Dozy Bear crawls into his den every night, thinks of all the other animals who are fast asleep, but evidently cannot fall asleep himself. Dozy’s family coaxes him in turn to somnolence. Mama tells him to close his eyes and “snuggle down”; Papa takes him through a physical relaxation sequence; Nana impresses on him how soft his bed is; and Grampy tells him to listen to the quiet of the night. Certain key words are italicized, cuing adult readers to emphasize them: “He’d think of all the other / animals, fast asleep….” Variations on the word “sleep” appear some 30 times, along with other suggestive words such as “snoring,” “settle,” and “stillness.” Dozy’s mama leads him through some deep breathing (“Deep, long breaths, innn—and—ouuuuuut, / innn—and—ouuuuuut, innn—and—ouuuuuut”), which finally renders Dozy “a little bundle of sleep.” Smythe’s twilight-colored collage illustrations look as though they’ve been tinted with watercolor and then scribbled over with crayon, giving them a childlike feel. Poor composition and the choice to make Dozy and his family virtually indistinguishable from one another result in some illustrations that will puzzle readers who haven’t already conked out.
Just as purposive as the runaway bestseller but significantly more palatable. (Picture book. 2-5)