Sleepyhead readers explore a hushed woodland at dusk, where they discover animals nestled in their cozy places at bedtime.
Yawning little listeners will fall immediately and effortlessly into the rhetorical rhythms of this surefire good-night book. Gentle narration, soft exclamations and soothing “s” sounds surface again and again, streaming together sweetly. The earthy, mellow artwork, with its dusky greens and browns and thick linework, comforts too. Wan’s many circular shapes (all those radiant stars, the creatures’ rounded heads, ears, coiled bodies and tails—even dandelion seed-puffs and a lightning bug’s glow) recall the warm curve of a caregiver’s chest. Just when heavy-lidded listeners start to shut their eyes, they might notice a watchful crescent moon hovering on every full-bleed, double-page spread, reassuring them that all animals (and people) sleep under a shared sky. After visiting every bed in the forest (“We found all the little ones/ in trees, in holes, in caves./ We found all the sleepyheads/ in weeds, in reeds, on waves”), listeners enter a quiet house looking for one last sleepyhead—a baby already fast asleep in mother’s arms. That’s if they are still awake.
A superb execution of soporific shapes and sounds perfect for the bedside table. (Picture book. 2-6)