Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Book of Sleep

Every once in awhile, along comes a picture book so beautifully illustrated that it doesn't need a single word of text. This is one of those amazing books that delights your eye with the very first page and holds your attention all the way through. Originally available as a picture book, this was such a success that it is now being offered as a board book. I think the larger version is more entrancing, but you can't beat the durability of a board book.  

This is a fantastic bedtime book in nearly every respect. The story centers around night time and how nearly all the animals are ready for sleep when the darkness descends. Only the nocturnal owl remains wide-eyed and alert.

The owl keeps watch over all the other animals as they sleep, and steps in as tour guide to taking a closer look at the dozers. On some pages the owl is very small and artfully hidden, which makes finding his small frame a nice game for readers. He swoops over the snoring elephant, gazes balefully at a row of giraffes and lofts over an enormous whale, before roosting among a large group of slumbering doves.

Animals sleep in all different ways - some stand, some swim, some perch. A clue to a snoozing animal is typically the closed eyes, but we discover there are a few animals who sleep with one or both eyes open! And what about that owl, when does he sleep? Ah, the tired owl gets sleepy when the sun glows brightly and all the others animals rise for the day.

There's nothing as soothing as a book centered around sleep to get your little ones settled in for the night, particularly one as lovely as this. Subdued colors and the tiniest of details make this a visually stunning read. The above photos don't do the book justice. Holding the book in your hands, you will be surprised to find tiny line drawings on every page. Beautiful flower patterns and curlicues are etched in a deep blues and grays on every page, with white stars and tiny animals decorating the corners. Gorgeous!

Review copy provided by Random House. 

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