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Leave Your Sleep

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Overview

This collection of classic children's poetry, adapted to music by Natalie Merchant, opens the door to a wondrous world filled with witches and fearless girls, blind men and elephants, giants and sailors and dancing bears. Leave Your Sleep features a daring and delightful selection, ranging from the beloved (e.e. cummings, Edward Lear, and Jack Prelutsky) to the undiscovered (the young Nathalia Crane). Natalie Merchant's brilliant musical renderings, selected from her highly praised album, share the stage with ...

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Overview

This collection of classic children's poetry, adapted to music by Natalie Merchant, opens the door to a wondrous world filled with witches and fearless girls, blind men and elephants, giants and sailors and dancing bears. Leave Your Sleep features a daring and delightful selection, ranging from the beloved (e.e. cummings, Edward Lear, and Jack Prelutsky) to the undiscovered (the young Nathalia Crane). Natalie Merchant's brilliant musical renderings, selected from her highly praised album, share the stage with Barbara McClintock's richly imagined art to create a memorable reading, looking, and listening experience.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In 2010, singer-songwriter Merchant released the recording Leave Your Sleep, a set of songs adapted from poems for and about children. As the title suggests, these poems—from the likes of Ogden Nash, e.e. cummings, and Charles Causley—carry a hint of the uncanny, and Merchant enthusiastically engages with klezmer, Dixieland jazz, zydeco, and other musical styles. “oetry on the page can be difficult to penetrate; sometimes it needs to be heard,” Merchant writes in her introduction to this print compendium, which provides 19 poems (seven fewer than the album) and a tie-in CD. McClintock contributes nostalgic illustrations that evoke the 1860s to 1920s. Fittingly, Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Land of Nod” leads the selections, and McClintock offers a quaint forest path, complete with dainty mouse parade, insect orchestra, and wonderland child. McClintock channels Randolph Caldecott in her sequence of circus pictures for Rachel Field’s “Equestrienne” and recalls the collaborations of Shepard and Milne when she illustrates Edward Lear’s “Calico Pie.” As curious as can be—in the Victorian sense of the word—this collaboration transports readers and listeners on multiple sensory levels. All ages. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
 “A nice collaboration between two stars in their own fields that should lure children even deeper into the magical world of poetry.”—Booklist

 “A musical treat for parents as well as their children.”—Kirkus

"A classy bit of bookmaking." — The Horn Book

"The jaunty selections feature horses, elephants, dancing bears, and wonderfully empowered children. McClintock’s detailed paintings bring inviting color and fun to the verses in both spot art and full spreads." — School Library Journal, starred review

Children's Literature - Janice DeLong
As the title reveals, this is a classic collection of children's poetry; however, the title does not tell the whole story. Not only are the well-known writers of juvenile verse such as Prelutsky, Nash, and Stevenson included, but others who are less well known, such as Nathalia Crane (published at age fourteen), Laurence Alma-Tadema, and Arthur Macy. Some of the nearly twenty works are humorous; others deal with such somber issues as life and death. The CD accompanying the collection, written and performed by Merchant, offers listeners a wide variety of melodies from the Irish jig variety to haunting, somber folk tunes and gentle lullabies. Merchant's mellow voice perfectly reveals her interpretation of each poem. Previews online are plentiful with each song available on Merchant's website. McClintock's illustrations accurately reflect the mood of each poem. This combination of poetry and art in both pen and song are works of love. Reviewer: Janice DeLong
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—In 2010, Merchant released a successful album of 30 classic children's poems that she set to music. Nineteen of these poems are now brought together in this anthology consisting of a delightful range of American and British poets from Ogden Nash and Edward Lear to Rachel Field and Jack Prelutsky. The jaunty selections feature horses, elephants, dancing bears, and wonderfully empowered children. McClintock's detailed paintings bring inviting color and fun to the verses in both spot art and full spreads. A full-length CD of the recordings is included, making this a feast of enchanting sounds, words, and visuals-a magnificent package for any poetry collection. Back matter includes photographs of the poets included, credits and more information about the poems and the music.—Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA
Kirkus Reviews
An American singer-songwriter's two-CD album becomes a children's poetry collection. For her 2010 hit album with the same title, Merchant composed music for 30 19th- and 20th-century British and American poems, some written for children and some written about childhood. For this volume, she's selected 19 of those poems (18 from the CD set and one other), describing them as "representing the long conversation I had with my daughter during the first six years of her life." Both traditional and modern in style, they range widely in subject and mood. There are examples of wordplay by Prelutsky and Nash, nursery rhymes, verses by Stevenson and Lear, poems by cummings and Graves and more. Not all the texts, nor their authors, will be familiar. Not really "classic," but classy, what they have in common is splendid language and McClintock's engaging illustrations. Done with pen and ink and gently colored (except for a flamboyantly dressed giantess resting against a red velvet curtain), these detailed drawings add to the old-fashioned look. They vary from tiny vignettes and character sketches to scenes stretching across a spread. The end matter includes black-and-white photographs of the poets as well as music credits for the special-edition CD that will be included. A musical treat for parents as well as their children. (Poetry/CD. 5 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374343682
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 11/13/2012
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 303,384
  • Age range: 5 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.82 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Natalie Merchant is a musician who for the past 30 years has been recognized as one of America’s most gifted singer-songwriters.She lives in the Hudson Valley of New York.

Barbara McClintock has written and illustrated many distinguished books for young readers, including Adele & Simon.  Her books have been named four times to the New York Times Best Illustrated Books of the Year list. She lives in Windham, Connecticut.

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Reading Group Guide

Listed below are two discussion questions for each of the seventeen poets (plus Mother Goose) featured in Leave Your Sleep. The questions focus often on the poet and sometimes on the poem, and are differentiated with a Grades K–3 question first and a Grades 4–6 question following. Because of the range of interests and abilities in classrooms, the questions are listed together so that you can choose one or both, as appropriate.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 15, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Two years ago, at a librarian conference, I had the unexpected p

    Two years ago, at a librarian conference, I had the unexpected pleasure of hearing Natalie Merchant sing. I didn’t really know much about her, since I wasn’t much of a 10,000 Maniacs fan, but I was blown away by her performance of poetry put to music and since then I’ve taken advantange of any opportunity to hear her. (But I digress from my point.)

    Natalie Merchant loves words and she used to recite poetry to her young daughter. In 2010, she recorded a CD, Leave Your Sleep, in which she put to music 26 poems of poets known and obscure. It was the culmination of years of research, finding the poems, digging out biographical information on the poets, some of whom wrote poetry as a sideline or hobby. The result is a marvelous listening adventure; one I constantly go back to.

    But, Ms. Merchant didn’t leave it at that because she understands that sometimes artistry is enhanced by the combination of mediums. Today I received my copy of Leave Your Sleep, the picture book, illustrated by the award winning Barbara McClintock. It is a beautiful book in which 19 of the poems on her CD are written out with colorful illustrations. It is a delight for the eyes. Along with the book is a CD of Ms. Merchant singing these songs. In her introduction, Ms. Merchant writes “Poetry speaks of so much: longing and sadness, joy and beauty, hope and disillusionment…But poetry on the page can be difficult to penetrate; sometimes it needs to be heard.” Or accompanied by illustrations. Leave Your Sleep, both the book and the CD, are the perfect blend of media to bring out the best of these poems.

    On December 1, I’m going to hear Ms. Merchant sing some of these songs accompanied by an orchestra. What a perfect way to hear poetry!!! Leave Your Sleep is the perfect gift for a child of any age. That’s why I treated myself.

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