LET'S GO TO SLEEP
by Margaret Wild, illustrated by Michelle Dawson - Working Title Press 2013
ages 0 up to about 8 years (a gorgeous baby shower or new-baby gift) / heartwarming
There are some books that really are best read in a whisper while little bodies cuddle up and begin to sink heavily into sleep. Lullaby books, if you like.
Lullaby books need to be lyrical, preferably poetic for cadence, gentle on the eyes and have a reassuring predictability. (Certainly nothing to startle or surprise!) Let's Go to Sleep is all of that—it’s one of my favourites.
Each page shows a loving animal family preparing to sleep and includes a tender invitation:
"let’s go to sleep."
These are beautiful pictures, there is love in the eyes of the animals and reassurance in the familiarity of the scenes.
Each animal family is behaving just as they really do, but they are doing things that human families do too – cuddling with a sibling, lying on a parent's back, sleeping under a parent’s protective gaze.
While this story is a lovely way to end a day, it also takes us around the globe as we peek in on animals and landscapes from all over the world, which makes for interesting daytime conversations about where animals live, habitats and so forth.
The certainty of the text—each page has an 8 or 9 syllable phrase followed by "let’s go to sleep, little ….", making prediction easy for emerging readers. And because the layout of the text is the same on each page, identifying the repeated words is easy too.
So it’s a great book for children who are just starting to read.
Let's Go to Sleep doesn't seem to be widely available at the moment, try Booktopia or the library. There’s a paperback version due out soon, but try to locate the hardcover – you’ll likely be lying down beside a baby or toddler to read this story and hardcover is so much easier to hold with one hand, while your other arm cuddles a little one.
And finally, to give you an idea of its loveliness, here's a little slideshow of some of the achingly beautiful illustrations. Who wouldn't sleep soft and sound with these images in their head?