So Sleepy Story
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So Sleepy Story

by Uri Shulevitz

In a sleepy sleepy house everything is so sleepy – until music drifts in through an open window. Chairs begin to rock, dishes begin to dance, and a sleepy boy opens his eyes to the revelry of the once-sleepy house. Then, softly, the music drifts out, and everything is sleepy sleepy once more.

With his soothing text and gentle, whimsical illustrations, Uri


In a sleepy sleepy house everything is so sleepy – until music drifts in through an open window. Chairs begin to rock, dishes begin to dance, and a sleepy boy opens his eyes to the revelry of the once-sleepy house. Then, softly, the music drifts out, and everything is sleepy sleepy once more.

With his soothing text and gentle, whimsical illustrations, Uri Shulevitz has created the ultimate sleepy sleepy bedtime story.

So Sleepy Story is a 2006 New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Shulevitz's latest winning picture book evokes the lulling rhythms of Margaret Wise Brown's Goodnight Moon (1974), but adds a thrilling animation to a quiet bedroom scene.” —Starred, Booklist

“An ode to the predictable rhythms yet also the surprising moments that comprise an ordinary day.” —Starred, Publishers Weekly

“There is much for [youngsters] to see and enjoy here. A bedtime bonanza.” —Starred, School Library Journal

“A dreamy story. Assuredly soporific for snoozing.” —Kirkus Reviews

“An appealing book whose blue-tinted watercolors could induce nodding off all on their own.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Audiences will adore the rampant yet benevolent animism.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“The faces on the personified objects will pull children in.” —The Horn Book

Publishers Weekly
Just as the first snowfall introduced magic in the quiet town of Shulevitz's Snow, here music puts a sleeping household under its spell. The book opens when night falls upon a little house, and sleep overtakes its inhabitants. The artist's choice to anthropomorphize every creature and household item-from the faces on the dishes, to the legs on the table, all portrayed with tightly closed eyes-indicates that nothing is immune to slumber. Text steeped in repetition and alliteration creates a soporific effect ("sleepy cuckoo-clock/ by sleepy dishes/ on sleepy shelves/ and a sleepy cat/ on a sleepy chair"). Muted watercolors in twilight tones reinforce the sense of stillness. With the sudden introduction of music, the house begins to awaken, and color slowly washes across the pages, creating a daybreak effect. The text disappears, and the previously framed illustrations burst into full-bleed paintings. Words seem to be no longer necessary, as the music creates an energy all on its own. But as the action winds down and each object (plus a sleepy boy) returns to sleep, readers will not doubt that this process will inevitably begin again. Much like a child's nighttime routine, this story is an ode to the predictable rhythms yet also the surprising moments that comprise an ordinary day. Ages 3-6. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz
Even the tiny house on the jacket seems to be yawning with half-closed eyes in this quiet, imaginative, almost hypnotic invitation to bedtime. "In a sleepy sleepy house everything is sleepy sleepy." Yes, everything: chairs, tables, walls, dishes, cat, even the sleepy bed where a sleepy boy is lying. But "softly softly music drifts in" through the window, getting louder and louder, until everything in the house begins to wake up and dance. A falling dish wakes the cat; the cuckoo in the clock calls; the boy's eyes open to the dancing around him. The sparse text gives way to two double pages of wordless action. Then the music ends, and everything is finally sleepy again. The long, horizontal scenes, the overall blueness of the watercolor illustrations, the personification of objects with facial features, arms and legs, the expressions of the faces in the pictures on the wall, even the low-key action, all contribute to the light-hearted post-midnight fantasy. So the boy's possible dream, an hour-long episode recorded by the clock, should suggest happy dreams for readers. Look under the jacket at the elegant two-color cover with its silver man-in-the-moon for additional peacefulness.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-A "sleepy sleepy boy" is fast asleep in his "sleepy sleepy bed" along with everything else in his "sleepy sleepy house" until music comes drifting in, in ever louder tones. Then the child and his surroundings gradually come alive, dance, and shake to the beat, and drift back to sleep as the notes and instruments depart. The brief repetitive text takes a backseat to the whimsical watercolor-and-ink cartoon illustrations. Indeed, a couple of spreads have no words at all. Dark background washes engulf the personified objects as they settle into slumber. With the arrival of notes that become instrument-playing characters, the washes begin to lighten with the slowly awakening household, until the cavorting furnishings are suffused with brilliant oranges and yellows. This transformation is only temporary, however, for with the exodus of the music makers, dusty blues, greens, and grays wrap everyone in sleep once again. Before youngsters themselves nod off, there is much for them to see and enjoy here-dancing dishes that eventually slump over, picture-framed characters with outrageous beards and mustaches, vibrating tables and chairs, a bookcase containing Shulevitz titles, trees and house leaning over in sleep, and more. This is a bedtime bonanza.-Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Caldecott Medalist Shulevitz spins a dreamy story of a household at night with a little boy and everything around him asleep. All the familiar items of this home have faces with sleeping eyes: chairs, tables, dishes, toys, curtains-even the light fixture. There's a somber feeling to the initial spreads, with lurking shadows and murky colors. Then a golden beam of music wafts in the window, waking everyone up with dancing notes and blaring horns. The anthropomorphic musical notes dance with the dishes and the furniture for hours and then mysteriously disappear back out the window, returning the household to its somnolent state. The final illustrations show subtle changes wrought by the influence of the music through a warmer palette of blues and greens and smiles on the household items and the moon. Assuredly soporific for snoozing. (Picture book. 3-6)

Product Details

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
10.35(w) x 9.22(h) x 0.35(d)
Age Range:
3 - 6 Years

Meet the Author

Uri Shulevitz is a Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator and author. He was born in Warsaw, Poland, on February 27, 1935. He began drawing at the age of three and, unlike many children, never stopped. The Warsaw blitz occurred when he was four years old, and the Shulevitz family fled. For eight years they were wanderers, arriving, eventually, in Paris in 1947. There Shulevitz developed an enthusiasm for French comic books, and soon he and a friend started making their own. At thirteen, Shulevitz won first prize in an all-elementary-school drawing competition in Paris's 20th district.

In 1949, the family moved to Israel, where Shulevitz worked a variety of jobs: an apprentice at a rubber-stamp shop, a carpenter, and a dog-license clerk at Tel Aviv City Hall. He studied at the Teachers' Institute in Tel Aviv, where he took courses in literature, anatomy, and biology, and also studied at the Art Institute of Tel Aviv. At fifteen, he was the youngest to exhibit in a group drawing show at the Tel Aviv Museum.

At 24 he moved to New York City, where he studied painting at Brooklyn Museum Art School and drew illustrations for a publisher of Hebrew books. One day while talking on the telephone, he noticed that his doodles had a fresh and spontaneous look—different from his previous illustrations. This discovery was the beginning of Uri's new approach to his illustrations for The Moon in My Room, his first book, published in 1963. Since then he was written and illustrated many celebrated children's books. He won the Caldecott Medal for The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship, written by Arthur Ransome. He has also earned three Caldecott Honors, for The Treasure, Snow and How I Learned Geography. His other books include One Monday Morning, Dawn, and many others. He also wrote the instructional guide Writing with Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children's Books. He lives in New York City.

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