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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

A Book of Sleep

A Book of Sleep (Hardcover)
Il Sung Na

Ages 4-8

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (September 8, 2009)

Since owls are the rage these days, we've been reading quite a few owl books. Not many resonated with us. Il Sung Na's A Book of Sleep, however, had me inspecting and admiring each double-page spread with wonder and delight that surpassed the resident 3-yr-old's.

The text is rather straightforward and simple. There is no real story that unfolds in the book. It reminded me of Taro Gomi's Everyone Poops. The pictures describe the text, or vice versa, not sure which came first for this book, first published in England under the title ZZzzz: A Book of Sleep (2007).

When the sky grows dark
and the moon glows bright
everyone goes to sleep...
except for the watchful owl.

The owl watches as the other animals get their night's rest. Some sleep standing up, some sleep with one eye open, some with both eyes open, some sleep alone, some huddle together...

However, when the sun comes up again in the morning, all the animals wake up... except for the tired owl. "Silly owl! Why does he do that, Mama? Why does he like to sleep in the morning and wake up at night?", has been Oggie's question for every owl book we've read so far that mention their nocturnal behavior. (Owl Babies, Good-night, Owl!, Stellaluna to name a few).

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Na's illustrations are incredibly beautiful and quite stunning! The colors, the design, the animals, everything about them makes my heart leap with joy. The kindergartner and the preschooler at home like this book, of course. But, I am the one gazing at the pages whenever I get a chance.

There is a board book version, which, while still gorgeous, somehow impairs the gratification I get from the full-sized hardcover.

Il Sung Na's page has samples of her sketches and some images from this book, along with information about her other books.

[image source:]

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