Peace at Last by Jill Murphy

Peace at Last was a favourite story in my classroom when I started teaching. The story of Jill Murphy’s three bears takes a humorous look at not being able to sleep, a theme that is familiar to children and adults.

The Story: Mr Bear, Mrs Bear and Baby Bear go to bed. Mrs Bear falls asleep but Mr Bear doesn’t. When Mrs Bear starts to snore Mr Bear tries to sleep in Baby Bear’s room but Baby Bear is pretending to be an aeroplane. There is more noise in the living room, the kitchen and the garden so Mr Bear ends up falling asleep in the car. When the dawn chorus starts Mr Bear goes back to bed only to be woken up shortly afterwards by his alarm clock!

Peace at Last - Story SnugBefore I became a parent I didn’t appreciate the humour in Peace at Last, now I know how important sleep becomes when you have a young child! Unfortunately for Mr Bear there is a lot of environmental noise keeping him awake, there are noises which he probably doesn’t notice during the day like ticking clocks and the sound of household appliances. Many of the illustrations show him with a pained look on his face or lying with his head covered before he finally finds the peace he craves in his own bed. My daughter likes joining in with the catchphrase he uses when there’s too much noise, “I can’t stand THIS!”

The simple, repetitive text in Peace at Last makes it a great book for beginner readers. Each double page spread has the same layout, text on the left and a large illustration on the right. I love the smaller black and white line drawings above the text which show extras that aren’t mentioned in the story, for example Mr Bear having a late night snack in the kitchen. My favourite is the look on Mr Bear’s face when he looks at his snoring wife. My daughter is fascinated by Baby Bear and why he isn’t asleep when his mummy already is! She also likes Baby Bear’s choice of book – Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

I have used Peace at Last in the classroom as a stimulus for talking about children’s bedtime routines and what they involve. The garden illustration is also good to initiate discussions about nocturnal animals.

Peace at Last is a lovely bedtime story which will hopefully guarantee a good night’s sleep!

Age Range: 2 +

Author / Illustrator: Jill Murphy

34 thoughts on “Peace at Last by Jill Murphy

  1. This is a favourite in our house. I picked up a copy in a charity shop for about 50p as I recognised Jill Murphy’s name from The Worst Witch books I loved growing up. Such a lovely book.

    • Jill Murphy has written some great books. We love the stories about the Large family too. I must read The Worst Witch, I’m sure that I read it as a child.

  2. I’ve used Peace At Last in the classroom too, it’s a popular story with the younger ones. I’m quite a fan of Jill Murphy, especially the large family 🙂 #mmwbh

  3. I love that you didn’t get the humour till you became a parent!! I still remember that feeling of quiet relief at the end of this and other similar stories when a fraught bedtime had all calmed beautifully by the end of the story! I caught my husband fast asleep with a wide-eyed child next to him on more than one occasion… A gorgeous book…

  4. Oh, how lovely 🙂 I seem to vaguely remember this book from when my brother & sisters were children, but I haven’t read it with mine yet, I’ll have to get it next time we’re at the library.

  5. This has long been a favourite in our household, from oldest to middle to youngest. It’s popular with mummy and daddy too!

  6. I have so much love for this book. I had it as a small child and read it constantly, then when I had my children I bought a new copy and I read it to them as often as possible.
    Such a funny book x

  7. My daughters loved Jill Murphy books when they were small and my eldest recently had the pleasure of interviewing Jill at a book festival. She was lovely by all accounts x

  8. This is still one of my favourite books! My mum bought it for me some years ago after I’d discovered that she’d got rid of my childhood version! It’s now on Zach’s bookshelf and we love reading it 🙂 #weekendbloghop

    • It’s lovely when you can share a childhood favourite with your child. Sorry to hear your Mum got rid of your copy, Peace at Last is one of those classic stories that can be handed down and re-read 🙂

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