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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sleepy, oh so Sleepy, written and illustrated by Denise Fleming. Holt, H B Fenn, 2010. $19.99 ages 2 and up

"Tiny baby panda,
sleepy, oh so sleepy."

Denise Fleming knows just how to create a stunning readaloud for our youngest audience. The repetitive text leaves nothing to the imagination and that is just right! Each spread features one 'tiny baby' animal who is delightfully sleepy. It is this regular rhythm that encourages settling and will be a stalwart addition to the best of bedtime reads. Its soothing cadence and the soft beauty of the illustrations make it one of those books that would have gentled me to sleep while reading to the kids, only to be awakened with a quiet 'Mommy, you fell asleep again' reminder from one or the other. It sounds so simple but that is what makes it so special; for Denise Fleming's careful craftsmanship is never without emotional impact. It is happy in tone and reassuring for the youngster ready to drift into slumber.

Her artwork is so rich in textures and she knows the appeal of any baby animal. The close-ups created are hard to resist and will fill the air with 'oohs' and 'aahs' as you read along. There is humor and tenderness and always an underlying coziness for the animals portrayed on these pages. The tones are warm and evoke sunset, the textures are soft and touchable. So much to admire and treasure in the images created for this sleepy, salubrious story that is sure to have your toddler nodding off before the last page is turned. Tomorrow, you will have to return to share the human baby and its sock monkey companion who is just another star in the story.

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