The Rabbit who wants to fall asleep by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin
Published by LadyBird Books – Penguin Books Australia
The blurb states ‘Join parents all over the world who have embraced a new nightly ritual. Reclaim bedtime and turn it into a calm and affectionate end to your child’s day”.
The intention is to help children fall asleep more easily. The book recommends that the child uses up excess energy, that they are relaxed and comfortable and lying down listening instead of looking at the pictures.
It is also recommends that the story is read from the beginning to the end, even if the child falls asleep before it is finished and that the reader uses their best fairy-tale voice and is not disturbed during the reading.
There is an instruction page for parents and readers on the best way to read the story to their children i.e. words in bold need to be emphasized, words in italics to be read slowly and in a calm manner and you are asked to yawn in some parts and insert child’s name into the story.
Roger rabbit always seems to have trouble getting to sleep so Mother rabbit sits with him and explains that he and you (the child) will get to sleep eventually and if they go and see Uncle Yawn they will certainty fall asleep. With specially chosen sentences and choices of words, all which have a psychological purpose and following the instructions of a calm, fairy like voice the child is encouraged to fall asleep even before they embark on their adventure.
Over the next 9 pages Roger and the child meet Sleepy Snail who informs Roger and the child that the secret is to calm down and to do everything more slowly “it always works for me”. Heavy-eyed owl is next on the adventure who tells Roger and the child to relax ‘your feet, legs, body, arms, head, eyelids just before you fall asleep’ – almost a hypnotic chant.
Roger and the child arrive at Uncle Yawn’s house to a sign – ‘knock on the door, now, when you are ready to fall asleep’. Uncle Yawn pulls out a big spell book and his powerful magic sleeping powder that makes rabbits and children fall asleep, with the prediction that they will fall asleep on the way back home. On the way home they meet Heavy-eyed owl and Sleepy Snail who reinforce how tired everyone is and when Rabbit arrives home he finds his siblings and father asleep. Mummy tucks Roger (and the child) back into bed with the promise he will fall asleep quicker tomorrow and that the child can fall asleep now too.
This book takes the idea of a bedtime tale to the another level and at times I almost fell into a hypnotic trance as I found myself yawning due to the repetitiveness of the language. I haven’t read it to children so I can’t comment on its effectiveness at getting children to sleep and with 7 or 8 paragraphs per page and more than 250 words per page, I would imagine it to be a chore and a challenge to keep toddlers engaged and still enough to listen to the whole story. Interesting that it is recommended to parents to finish the story even if the child falls asleep before the story is finished.
At times it feels as if the book is a substitute for a swinging watch in hypnosis sessions but if it helps parents to get children to sleep and alleviates bedtime hassles give it a go.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author: Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin
Illustrator: Irina Maununen
Title: The Rabbit who wants to fall asleep
Publisher: LadyBird Books – Penguin Books Australia
Published: October 2015