Format: Board book (also available as a picture book)
Author and illustrator: Il Sung Na
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (January 2011)
Sometimes when I’m trying to put my toddler to bed, she has other ideas.
Okay, she frequently has other ideas.
The pacing of the stories we read before bed can help lead her from a state of literally bouncing off the walls (I do mean literally — one of her current favourite activities is running up to a wall or door and yelling “BOING!” as she bounces off) to a state of calm. All of this, of course, in the hopes that she will actually go to sleep. As we near the dreading Dropping of the Nap, this winding down has become increasingly imperative. Books with a slow, soothing pace help take our wee one from tearing through the hallways shouting “LOOK AT ME! I’M AN ELEPHANT!” to snuggling under her blankets. And since her snuggling under the blankets gets me to the next episode of Downton Abbey faster, I treasure books like Il Sung Na’s A Book of Sleep.
“When the sky grows dark and the moon glows bright, everyone goes to sleep…except for the watchful owl.” A Book of Sleep takes the reader, through the eyes of the owl and via graceful drawings, from animal to animal to learn how they like to sleep. The pacing of the words is rhythmic and sleepy and each delicately illustrated creature is gently slumbering. At last, all the animals awaken…except for the tired owl.
My only regret is that we own the board book version; I wish it was the picture book edition so that we could enjoy the beautiful illustrations more. I have recently discovered that Il Sung Na has other books, which I will be looking into as soon as I can. Really, this is the literary equivalent of a dart gun tranquilizer for children. Highly recommended.