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Down in the Woods at Sleepytime

Down in the Woods at Sleepytime

by Carole Lexa Schaefer

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"Author and illustrator make bedtime about as appealing as it gets." — PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (starred review)

It's sleepytime down in the woods, but not one of the baby animals is ready to go to bed. The bear cubs want to play, the little hedgehogs are hungry, the bunnies are peek-a-booing, and their mamas are at their wits' end! Welcome to a


"Author and illustrator make bedtime about as appealing as it gets." — PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (starred review)

It's sleepytime down in the woods, but not one of the baby animals is ready to go to bed. The bear cubs want to play, the little hedgehogs are hungry, the bunnies are peek-a-booing, and their mamas are at their wits' end! Welcome to a delightful woodland world full of tots of all types eluding bedtime — until wise Grandma Owl affirms with a story that the time is just right to say good night.

Editorial Reviews

It's sleeptime down in the woods, but none of the baby animals are ready for bed. The bear cubs want to play, the bunnies are peek-a-booing, the toadlets are singing -- and their mamas are all at their wits' end! Only wise Grandma Owl knows how to settle everyone down to sleep: with a story! Soothe your own little one to sleep with this warm, wonderful bedtime book.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As bedtime approaches the forest, settling down seems out of the question for a trio of bear cubs, while a quartet of young rabbits insist, "We're still peek-a-booing." As twilight's first stars appear, wise old Grandma Owl takes over. She knows there's nothing more soporific than a bedtime story, and she's barely gotten past the opener when the babies are cuddled up and drifting off. Schaefer (The Squiggle) makes some wonderfully evocative word choices: the hedgehogs, for example, prefer to "snuffle for snacks in the mossy grass," rather than hit the hay. Cabban's (the Bertie and Small books) full-bleed watercolor spreads display a sense of elegance, particularly in the way she handles the colors and composition of the forest's foliage, and the shifting light as night descends. As for the animals themselves, they are plump, pert, but never cloying. Cabban's depiction of a zaftig Mama Toad momentarily forgetting the task at hand and proudly listening to her warty, bedtime-avoiding triplets croon, "Hmm goo, mmm blup," exudes a knowing sense of humor. Author and artist make bedtime about as appealing as it gets. Ages 2-5. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly
A pair of bedtime books wind up the list. PW praised Schaefer's "wonderfully evocative word choices" as well as Cabban's "plump, pert, but never cloying" forest creatures in Down in the Woods at Sleepytime by Carole Lexa Schaefer, illus. by Vanessa Cabban. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The mama animals in the woods, just like mothers everywhere say, "It's sleepy time." But like all little ones, the cubs and the bunnies and the others are too busy playing or peek-a-booing to go to bed. It takes Grandma Owl and her story time to soothe them all to sleep. The very simple text set in large type is soothing in its familiarity. Cabban's cuddly watercolor and pencil drawings of animals and friendly-looking vegetation fill the double-page scenes with reinforcing good will. It is still daylight on the front endpapers, but by the end, the view of the same benign woodland under the moon adds visual comfort. 2000, Candlewick Press. Ages 2 to 6. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-"Deep down in the woods," mother animals are saying, "It's sleepytime," but bear cubs want to play, hedgehog babies are still hungry, bunnies are peek-a-booing, and toadlets are making up songs. When wise Grandma Owl hoots, "It's storytime," the little ones settle in for her tale of baby animals drifting off to sleep. This beautifully atmospheric picture book benefits from gentle, often alliterative text: hedgehogs "snuffle for snacks in the mossy grass," and rabbits "hip-hop, they hide under fat, green leaves." Schaefer's words are soothing even as they describe boisterous play, and are a perfect accompaniment to the jewel-toned pencil-and-watercolor illustrations. A sweeping double-page panorama of the woods in late afternoon opens the book, and a nighttime view of the scene appears at the end. In between, the pictures merge from golden-touched greens to blues and purples as the night descends upon the forest. Cabban's animals are extremely expressive, from the mischievous grins of the playful bear cubs to the look of utter contentment on Mama Toad's face as she proudly listens to her children sing. An ideal bedtime story.-Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, Eldersburg, MD Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Schaefer weaves an enchanting bedtime tale for rambunctious tots. A quartet of harried animal mothers endeavor to get their little ones tucked into bed. Not surprisingly, their mischievous offspring promptly provide a myriad of reasons to postpone bedtime; bear cubs frolic in the undergrowth, ravenous hedgehogs search for a morsel of food, energetic bunnies play a final game of peek-a-boo, and a trio of toadlets serenade their Mommy with one last song. Grandma Owl, a veteran Mom herself, soon assesses the situation and calls the troops to order with the clarion call of story time. With her simple lullaby she calms the restless youngsters and soon the forest is quiet as they drift off to dream-land. Cabban's lush watercolors capture the loveliness of the forest at dusk in a symphony of colors ranging from deep emerald to soft lavender hues. Irresistibly cuddly creatures cavort across the full-page illustrations, capturing readers' fancies. Young readers can readily relate to the delaying tactics of the sleep-wary babies while parents and caregivers will empathize with the weary animal mothers. A cozy tale that provides a soothing transition from play-time to bedtime for bustling babies and toddlers. (Picture book. 2-5)

Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
10.75(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.33(d)
AD300L (what's this?)
Age Range:
2 - 5 Years

Meet the Author

Carole Lexa Schaefer says DOWN IN THE WOODS AT SLEEPYTIME was inspired "by all my friends at Little Friends Preschool who like to play just a little bit longer—even at sleepytime."

Vanessa Cabban says, "I wanted to suggest that bedtime can be the best time of day—by creating pictures that make children feel safe and warm, helping them drift from the excitement of play to the coziness of their beds."

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