HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Sleepy Book
Author: Charlotte Zolotow
Illustrator: Stefano Vitale
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers, republished in 2001
ISBN-13: 978-0060278731 (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0060278730 (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-0064432399 (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0064432394 (Paperback)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 4 and up
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Zolotow, Charlotte. Sleepy Book (originally published in 1958 by Lothrop, Lee and Shepard; republished in 1990 by Trophy Press). Every living creature has to sleep, from the bear in his dark cave the long winter through, fish among the water ferns, and horses standing up switching their tails, to the snowy crane who sleeps standing on just one leg, turtles inside their shells, and seals with their flippers against blocks of ice. Charlotte Zolotow’s 1958 text conjures all the ways animals wind down for the night including the facts that “pigeons sleep in a row pressing against each other for warmth” and, of course, that “little boys and girls sleep warm under their blankets in their beds.” Some of the creatures’ sleep is easy to imagine, such as kittens stretched out purring in the sun, caterpillars in their silky cocoons, and dogs lying near someone they love, while others like crickets may challenge children’s idea of sleep.
In this classic bedtime book by Charlotte Zolotow, sleep has never seemed more inviting. Each double page is a meditation on one kind of sleeper. The simple, lyrical language reveals a world peacefully asleep. Stefano Vitale’s luminous but soothingly subdued illustrations painted on wood, beginning with the yawning moon on the inside cover, evoke the serenity of that twilight moment when “the night comes and the wind whispers gently in the trees and the stars sparkle and shine.” Together, word and art create a soothing and comforting bedtime story that will lull little ones off to dreamland. The edition that we checked out of the library for our older son Mark to gain extra reading practice when learning to read was a newly illustrated edition of the original book. It is a good way to end the day and settle in with little ones. Children will find it so interesting to see how other animals sleep and then compare it to how they sleep.