A Book of Sleep

( 5 )

Overview

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

With a spare, soothing text and beautifully rich and textured illustrations of a starry night, this is the perfect “book of sleep.” Join the owl on his moonlit journey as he watches all the other animals settle in for the night: some sleep standing up, while some sleep...

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Overview

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

With a spare, soothing text and beautifully rich and textured illustrations of a starry night, this is the perfect “book of sleep.” Join the owl on his moonlit journey as he watches all the other animals settle in for the night: some sleep standing up, while some sleep on the move! Some sleep peacefully alone, while others sleep all together, huddled close.

Il Sung Na makes his American debut with this gorgeous bedtime offering. While each animal rests in its own special way, little ones will also drift off to a cozy sleep.

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Editorial Reviews

Daniel Handler
It is difficult to praise A Book of Sleep, by Il Sung Na, without sounding as if I'm knocking it: "the literary equivalent of Tylenol PM" is an unlikely blurb for the paperback, but it is apt, so thoroughly does the book inhabit its sleepy world…The art moves easily from the actual (horses sleeping standing up) to the fantastical (giraffes resting their elevated heads on clouds) in a blurry variety of textures and styles—from stark, clean sketch lines to a cavalcade of splotchy color—that might sound overbusy but work very well on the page.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
“When the sky grows dark and the moon glows bright, everyone goes to sleep... except for the watchful owl.” The sleep habits of the delicate creatures in Na's debut (“Some sleep standing up, While some sleep on the move!”) seem almost incidental to the soothing, captivating aura that emanates from every spread. Na's textural images recall the lightheartedness and limpid charm of Paul Klee. Against nighttime fields of gray and blue, the animals are tinted with hot pinks and sunny yellows, and embellished with delicate black outlines, fine flowers and other flourishes. There are moments of quiet humor—a flock of oblong birds warily napping with one eye open on a telephone wire—as well as those that emphasize contented sleep (giraffes' heads rest on clouds overhead, while penguins “sleep all together, huddled close at night”). It's the rare picture book that, upon arrival, feels as though it has been around for years already; Na's belongs to this group. Ages 1–5. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
The dark sky of the end pages and the beginning double pages of the book set the tone for this perfect bedtime story. Only the watchful owl is awake as other creatures go to sleep, some in peace and quiet and others, like the elephant, making lots of noise. The brief, peaceful text tells of those who sleep standing (e.g., horses) and those who sleep on the move (e.g., fish). Some have one eye open, some have both eyes open and some sleep alone while others huddle together. But, in a message that will reassure young readers, everyone wakes up when "the sun glows bright"—everyone, that is, but that tired owl. He is ready to sleep. On double-page spreads, Na creates rather comic shapes that resemble animals "by combining handmade painterly textures with digitally generated layers, which were then compiled in Adobe Photoshop." The bulbous elephant, covered in pastel flowers, stands on absurdly small feet. A trio of horses covered with sketchy dabs of color is seen from the rear. A score of chubby pigeons sits on wires winking at us. Sketchy lines and patterns are scattered throughout. Overall, innocence prevails. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-K—This starry wonderland soothes young listeners through succinct phrasing and powerful pacing. Though they may all sleep differently, animals, birds, and fish rest when the sun sets, except for the observant owl. The lilting narrative describes the dozing patterns of numerous inhabitants against the dark night backdrop as the owl watches nearby. Each vibrant spread features no more than one stark sentence for each dreamy scene. "Some sleep peacefully alone,/While others sleep all together,/huddled close at night." With the morning sunlight, the rested creatures now eagerly play, though it is finally the owl's turn for slumber. Handmade painterly textures utilize digitally generated layers, compiled in Adobe Photoshop, to depict the subtle details on each darkened page. Nimble lines influence the gentle mood through spotted colors and shaded images, balancing darkness and light to depict the passing of time. Dreams, enhanced through slight white outlines, provide an unusual nuance to this delightful tale. This refreshing glimpse into the whimsical world of sleep truly soars.—Meg Smith, Cumberland County Public Library, Fayetteville, NC
From the Publisher
Starred Review, Booklist, November 1, 2009:
"Na’s wonderfully illustrated debut is one of those bedtime books that children will likely turn to again and again."

Review, New York Times Book Review, December 6, 2009:
“So thoroughly does the book inhabit its sleepy world.”

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, September 14, 2009:
"It's the rare picture book that, upon arrival, feels as though it has been around for years already"

Starred Review, School Library Journal, November 2009:
"Nimble lines influence the gentle mood through spotted colors and shaded images, balancing darkness and light to depict the passing of time."

Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
Readers will know to expect the unexpected from this book from the moment they pick it up. The black expanse of front cover is broken only by a muted crescent moon, a couple of equally-muted stars and a large, exotically-drawn owl. Although it is a book of sleep, the owl's own eye is widely, boldly, and fully open. No one is sleeping on the front cover! Page one declares that "everyone" sleeps at night "...except for the watchful owl." The following pages show a variety of creatures—koala, elephant, llama, whale, fish, giraffe, and more—sleeping in many different ways (e.g., "in peace and quiet," noisily, standing up, moving around). At the story draws to a close, gone are the black skies and sleepyheads: "[T]he sky turns blue and the sun glows bright...everyone wakes up!" A turn of the final page shows one exception: the owl. Na's fanciful illustrations convey a gentle sense of dreaminess to this simple, whimsical tale. This book is sure to become a quick favorite of youngsters. That may be a relief to parents; unlike many other popular-with-kids books, they likely will not mind reading this one for the umpteenth time. Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375862236
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 9/8/2009
  • Pages: 24
  • Sales rank: 271,204
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.60 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Originally from Korea, IL SUNG NA studied illustration at Kingston University in London. A Book of Sleep was his first picture book, followed by The Thingamabob and Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit (Spring 2011), which are also available from Knopf. To learn more about Il Sung Na and his work, please visit IlSungNa.com.

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Customer Reviews

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