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While You Are Sleeping: Durga Bernhard

Book: While You Are Sleeping: A Lift-the-Flap Book of Time Around the World
Author: Durga Bernhard
Pages: 24
Age Range: 4-8

14737 While You Are Sleeping is, as advertised in the subtitle, a lift-the-flap book showing time zones around the world. All of the events of the book take place simultaneously, but at different times because of the time zones. So we begin with:

"While you are reading (a clock shows 10:00 pm, and a little map shows Alaska), on the other side of the world (lift a flap with a picture of a Nigerian village, and a clock underneath the flap shows 9 am above a picture of a Nigerian girl), someone is getting dressed."

The next page shows that while the same Nigerian girl is carrying food through her village at 9 am, a boy in Japan is walking home from school with a friend at 5 pm. And so on. Taking the character from under the flap on the right-hand side of the page, and bringing him or her forward to the left-hand side of the next page, lends continuity to the book, and will keep kids wanting to the turn to the next page.

There's actually a lot more going on in this book than just the idea of time zones. Each page spread includes clocks, maps, and detailed illustrations of different places and people of different nationalities. The primary illustrations on each page are brightly colored and filled with pleasant details, like sheep cavorting in the background. The maps are more muted, there in the background for anyone interested, but not drawing attention away from the main narrative.

Although my 14-month-old daughter loves lifting flaps in books, we're going to have to put this one aside until she's a bit older. The pages, while relatively thick, are not going to stand up to the abuses of a toddler. And the small, detailed illustrations, not to mention the concepts of the book, will of course be over her head. But I think that this would be a great book for a four or five year old who has recently learned to tell time. I think you'd want to have a globe handy as you go through the pages, to also point out the countries there. While You Are Sleeping will especially nice for the many children who have relatives living in other countries. 

While You Are Sleeping is fun, beautiful, and educational. Recommended for the early elementary school set, or for anyone wanting to understand time zones better, and catch glimpses of people from around the world.

Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing (@Charlesbridge)
Publication Date: February 2011
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

© 2011 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.