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Rabbit’s Nap

A lovely little lift-the-flap book from Julia Donalson and Axel Scheffler.

Rabbit wants a nap, but every time she drops off to sleep someone else wakes her up.  Builder Bear is tapping outside, and a band of mice is rehearsing in the cupboard!  Poor Rabbit tries everywhere but nowhere is quiet.  However, her friends have a plan to help her.

This award-winning hugely successful pairing are known for long, detailed books, but this, part of the ‘Tales from Acorn Wood’ series, is much shorter and simpler.  Each double-page consists of four rhyming lines explaining where Rabbit naps and who interrupts her, and there is a flap to open revealing the culprit.   There are only twelve pages in total and instead of the full landscapes that  Scheffler usually draws the pictures are more basic, larger, and centred on plain cream pages.  The text is in bold print and the language is straightforward and clear.

This is a really well-pitched book.  Clearly aimed at a younger audience than The Gruffalo or The Snail and The Whale, Rabbit’s Nap bridges a gap between the very basic baby book and more complex writing for older toddlers and preschoolers.  It is ideal for babies reaching the end of their first year who are able to get more involved with books and open flaps themselves, as well as for younger toddlers.  There is enough in the illustrations for an adult to talk about but not so much as to confuse very young readers.  And there is enough charm in the story to give it longevity with older children too.

Look out for more ‘Tales from Acorn Wood’ as this is a nice series; great when moving away from baby’s first books onto something more interesting.

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Goodnight Harry

Poor Harry the cuddly elephant.  He has his bath and gets himself all ready for bed.  His friends Lulu and Ted are snuggled up with him, but while they drift off to sleep Harry finds he can’t.   He tries all sorts of things: reading a story, tidying up, jumping up and down – but when he gets back into bed he still can’t sleep.  Then he starts to worry and fret about not sleeping, and fidgets so much that he wakes up his friends. Fortunately, they have a way to help him.

This story is beautifully illustrated and all three toy characters are very sweet, especially Harry, whose brown fur looks virtually strokeable.  The story will be a familiar one to many – who hasn’t felt the frustration of lying awake, desperate to nod off? – and the comforting, reassuring ending should give children confidence that when they do suffer from insomnia they will eventually be able to go back to sleep.  The language is gentle and lilting and the falling cadences over the last few pages are calm and relaxing, making this an ideal bedtime story.

Kim Lewis’ book is a sweet, simple story that deals with a real-life problem in a charming way.   Good for bedtime with younger children.