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How Does Sleep Come?

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Overview

In her picture book debut, Jeanne Blackmore continues her grandfather Roger Duvoisin's tradition of creating beautiful books for children. Through her poetic and deceptively simple text, Blackmore has created an ideal sleepy time tale:

"How does sleep come?" Jacob asked his Mama as he climbed into bed. Jacob's Mama tucked the covers all around Jacob just so, and then she told him. "Sleep comes quietly. Like a snowfall that blankets a meadow on a dark starry night, and lays down ...

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Overview

In her picture book debut, Jeanne Blackmore continues her grandfather Roger Duvoisin's tradition of creating beautiful books for children. Through her poetic and deceptively simple text, Blackmore has created an ideal sleepy time tale:

"How does sleep come?" Jacob asked his Mama as he climbed into bed. Jacob's Mama tucked the covers all around Jacob just so, and then she told him. "Sleep comes quietly. Like a snowfall that blankets a meadow on a dark starry night, and lays down a soft white canvas for rabbits to leave footprints."

Jacob closed his eyes.
And the snow fell.
And the fog rolled in.
And the clouds drifted.
And the cat purred.
And quietly, silently, softly, peacefully, gently, Jacob fell asleep.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The starry cover and its curly, romantic lettering shout “bedtime book,” and the sentimental writing from first-time author Blackmore (granddaughter of children’s book creator Roger Duvoisin) has a familiar sound, too: “Sleep comes quietly. Like a snowfall that blankets a meadow on a dark starry night and lays down a soft white canvas for rabbits to leave footprints.” But it’s a distinctive piece of work; Blackmore has carefully polished her prose’s rolling, soothing rhythm, beginning with adverbs that describe how sleep comes and finishing by knitting them into one long, hypnotic final sentence: “And quietly, silently, softly, peacefully, gently, Jacob fell asleep.” Sayles (Moon Child) imagines night as a star-spangled curtain that parts to reveal Jacob’s living room, then as a midnight blue cape Jacob wears as he sails a boat across a luminous full moon. Blackmore doesn’t try to jolly children to sleep or search for a new bedtime angle; instead, she assembles the softest, most comforting elements she can find, while Sayles provides spread after spread of safe, cozy pictures. If that’s not a recipe for sweet dreams, what is? Ages 4–up. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
.PreS-K—This lullaby focuses on imagery rather than the sounds of the words that lull children to sleep. Jacob asks his mother how sleep comes and, as she tucks the youngster in, she tells him that it comes silently, softly, peacefully, and gently and offers a description for each one. Unfortunately, the images are fairly esoteric for a young child to understand. For example, she says: "Sleep comes silently. Like a fog that rolls into a harbor and shrouds the boats in misty gray, making a silence broken only by the clang of buoys." The description is wonderfully poetic but the connection between this scene and sleep will be lost on the intended audience. The illustrations are soft and appealing, and the artist's use of smaller frames for Jacob as sleep begins to take him is well chosen. Titles such as Sherri Duskey Rinker's Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site (Chronicle, 2011), Mem Fox's Time for Bed (Harcourt, 1993), Margaret Wise Brown's Goodnight Moon (HarperCollins, 1947), and Bob Shea's Dinosaur vs. Bedtime (Hyperion, 2008) are more accessible choices for young children.—Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Kirkus Reviews
A sleepy-bye story that doesn't work on any number of levels, despite Jacob's starry blanket and sweet-faced mama. If this is meant to be read to a child going to sleep, the sheer number of words strung together without pauses or commas might make one breathless. Jacob asks the question of the title, and his mama answers, "Sleep comes quietly. Like a snowfall that blankets a meadow on a dark starry night and lays down a soft white canvas for rabbits to leave footprints." Each one of these overly descriptive sentences is followed by a single line about Jacob snuggling under his covers, yawning or curling up. Readers proceed from the rabbit in the snow to fog in the harbor, summer clouds to a kitten by the fireplace to a butterfly. The rapid change of seasons might signal a universal nighttime, but it is confounded by Jacob's dream, in which cloud, snow, butterfly and cat come together in the deep blue sky. The pictures are soft, gentle and peaceful, just as the text describes sleep, with their primary hue a blue richly evocative of a country sky. They cannot mitigate the breathless delivery of the text, however. Any number of sleepy bedtime tales are sleepier and bedtimier than this. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402271052
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/1/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 935,367
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD550L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeanne Blackmore comes from a family of storytellers, and lives in Vermont with her husband, children, dogs, chickens, and hermit crabs. Jeanne has slept well all of her life.
ELIZABETH SAYLES has illustrated more than 25 books for children including the NY Times #1 best selling picture book, I Already Know I Love You by Billy Crystal. She is adjunct professor of Illustration at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. She lives in the lower Hudson Valley of New York, with her husband and their daughter.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 17, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    a wonderful 4 star read This is a beautiful book that had an end

    a wonderful 4 star read
    This is a beautiful book that had an ending I did not see coming, and I like that in a child’s book
    How does sleep come? Hmmm…I had never really thought about it before although I have spent many a long night wondering if it would come.
    Sleep comes in softly and silently like clouds, fog, snow, lightly like a butterfly and soft as a purring kitten which are magical words to a child’s tiny ears as they are drifting off.
    The illustrations are sweet, colorful and done in calming blues and greens, the color of sleep
    I read this book to twin 3 year old girls and a 4 year old boy at naptime…it worked and I highly recommend you go out and add it to your children’s library

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