A Board Book Every So Often! No. 24
Sleepy Baby by Fiona Watt, illustrated by Catherine-Anne Mackinnan (Usborne 2006)
A touchy-feely book about bedtime.
I love Mick Inkpen’s Wibbly Pig books, but the bedtime one, Is It Bedtime, Wibbly Pig?, revolves around our eponymous pig’s joyful attempts at avoiding going to bed. Noooo – not what you want when you’re struggling to establish a smooth end-of-day routine with positive outcomes for all.
Sleepy Baby is just the thing. A simple line of text per page beginning with ‘It’s time…’ takes us through undressing, bath, brushing teeth, looking at a book, and finally saying ‘night night’. By the penultimate spread Baby is looking pretty sleepy, and in the final one is lying down, eyes shut, blissfully snuggled up with a soft blanket.
The cover and each double page has a textured something to explore – socks, nappy, towel, fluffy bunny ears, and Baby’s own snuggly. There are a few familiar toys and objects on each page to talk about, too. The colours are softly bright (that’s not impossible, right?), the pictures are large and clear, and the baby is not obviously a girl or a boy so is perfect for any family to identify with.
It’s a pity that the author and illustrator only get a mention on the back cover in rather small print.
This would be a lovely book to share every night to reinforce a calm, settled routine. Good luck with that, that’s all I have to say!
A Board Book Every Week: No. 22
A brilliant lift-the-flaps book written and illustrated by Nicola Smee, combining hide-and-seek, bedtime anxieties, and some delightfully helpful pets.
The little girl at the heart of this story is all ready for bed but can’t go until her teddy is found – but where is it? Cupboards, drawers and tablecloths are lifted to reveal a growing number of animals, but no Ted. I particularly like the flap which shows Grandpa to be sitting on a bag full of – could they be? – Werthers Originals.
It turns out that Ted has been washed and is outside on the washing line – another anxiety about favourite huggies and suckies and soft toys. I recall one of my children kneeling before the washing machine, paws pressed to the glass door, while his cuddly quilt swished round inside. It had been cut in two and I was hoping he wouldn’t notice when the spare half was in for a much-needed wash.
Happy endings here with everyone snuggled up to sleep, and as the blurb says ‘loads for children to investigate, spot and count’. The little mice asleep in a pair of slippers are a lovely touch.
Really simple text, with a rhyme on the short 4-line pages, makes for a manageable and familiar storyline, and the possibility of talking about emotions with a toddler. One flap shows our heroine with a tear on her cheek.
The colours are cheery and bright without being lurid. It reminds me of Where’s Spot?, but is a bit more sophisticated.
Bound to be a favourite!