Today is World Sleep Day, ‘an annual event, intended to be a celebration of sleep’ which makes it the perfect day to think about picture books that can be read as part of a bedtime routine. Goodnight Sleepy Babies with its soothing rhyming text and beautiful illustrations has the quality of a lullaby, it’s a fabulous choice for a bedtime story or simply for those times when children (and parents!) need a calming read.
The Story: As a rabbit and child watch the sunset they say goodnight to a variety of animals and their babies. Once the sun has gone down they snuggle up together in their burrow and say goodnight to each other.
As well as rabbits we are introduced to ten parent / child pairs including songbirds, monkeys, sea otters and foxes. Children are introduced to a variety of animals in the story (I like the fact that several may be unfamiliar to a young child which can extend their learning) as well as the places that they sleep. The introduction of a baby elephant washing at the beginning of the book also conveys the idea of having a bath or shower before snuggling into bed. I love the way that the adult rabbit is gender neutral which allows a child to make their own interpretation based on the sex of the adult who is reading the story to them.
Sebastien Braun’s earthy illustrations complement the story perfectly and each illustration takes up a complete double spread. We find the baby animals particularly cute, the little panda yawning is adorable and my daughter loves the way that the sea otter curls up on Mummy’s tummy as she swims. The colours of the sky are particularly stunning, especially the sunset on the songbirds’ page and the subdued green of the jungle where the monkeys sleep. The front cover is beautiful. The stars and the title are embossed with silver, we love running our fingers over it!
The story can be used to initiate discussion about the different animals, where they sleep and where they live. It can also help a young child to develop the vocabulary to talk about their own bedtime routine.
Goodnight Sleepy Babies has the quality of a lullaby and is the perfect present for a new baby. The final line of the text ‘Goodnight, I Love You’ is exactly what my husband and I say to our daughter every night and we love the way that the story can encourage a child to say their own goodnights to the important people and animals in their lives.
Do you have a favourite picture book to help prepare your child to go to sleep?