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Friday, November 9, 2012

Sleep Like a Tiger, written by Mary Logue and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Thomas Allen & Son. 2012. $19.99 ages 3 and up

"Most animals just sleep
through the night," her
parents said, tucking her in.
"I know an animal that
sleeps a lot," the little girl
told them.
"What animal is that?"
her parents asked."

We had a little boy who didn't like going to sleep...and it started pretty early. It wasn't until he could articulate his thinking that we knew his mind was constantly awash with questions and concerns. The little girl in Mary Logue's debut picture book is much like Bret was...independent, intense and intent on getting answers to her questions.

Her parents' response is what makes this book stand out from other bedtime books you may have read. They don't insist that she go to sleep; but they do suggest that there are routines to be followed.
She needs pajamas, her face needs washing and her teeth should be brushed, and she should get into her warm, welcoming bed.

When she asks about who sleeps elsewhere in the world, her parents affirm her suspicions. The dog sleeps on the couch, the cat sleeps near the warmth of the fireplace, bats find safety in the barn during the day, and so on...

Without her knowing it, the parents have the final authority about bedtime in this family...everyone does play a part in the bedtime ritual. They all have their say.

Don`t even get me started on the mixed media paintings on wood, and computer illustrations. We could be here all day. There is so much to see, and every space is filled by the award-winning Pamela Zagarenski. The textures invite touch, the tiny details consume us with what there is to see on every page. I have pored over it numerous times, and find something new each time I look. Once gone from the page, there is no guarantee that that same image will not be part of another scene. There are so many connections. Watch carefully!

Her tiny stuffed tiger reminds her of what she thinks she knows about the jungle beast:

"The tiger in the jungle.
When he's not hunting, he finds some shade,
closes his eyes, and sleeps.
That way he stays strong."

The final image is perfection!

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