Book: The Big Book of Slumber
Author: Giovanna Zoboli
Illustrator: Simona Mulazzani
The Big Book of Slumber is as advertised. It's an over-size picture book sure to make any young listener feel cozily sleepy. Giovanna Zoboli's rhyming text, translated from Italian by Antony Shugaar, is soothing and full of whimsey, while Simona Mulazzani's detailed illustrations will reward repeat readings. The premise of The Big Book of Slumber is that a wide range of animals are going to sleep. Most of them are tucked into human-like beds, with blankets and pillows, though a few remain in their natural habitats. Like this:
"Dolphin and tuna have turned out the light.
Nanny goat's tucking kids in for the night.
Rooster and hen are already sleeping --
so why are those baby chicks still up and cheeping?"
The page spread shows the dolphin and tuna underwater, eyes closed. A nanny goat tucks eight baby goats into separate beds, neatly lined up on a lawn. A chicken and rooster nod inside a hen house next door, while a dozen yellow chicks roam about the page.
On another page, several puppies are tucked into bed together, while two camels lie in bunk-beds, with "a moonlit oasis right over their heads",complete with sand and palm trees, right there on the top bunk. There is definitely a surreal feel to the book. But Mulazzani's illustrations are not fuzzy and dream-like, they are clearly defined, despite their quirky content.
This will be a fun book for kids, I think, with lots of animals, big and small, to look for on each page (most but not all referenced in the text). I found the text to be rhythmic without being sing-songy, positively calling out to be read aloud. As an adult, I prefer books that have more plot than this one (which is basically a series of collections of sleeping animals, no narrative). But I think that it will make my daughter laugh, while also helping her to calm down for sleep. And that's a winning combination. This one is going in our bedtime reading pile for sure.
Publisher: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers (@EBYR)
Publication Date: April 18 2014
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
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