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Saturday, September 12, 2015

Feet Go To Sleep, written by Barbara Bottner and illustrated by Maggie Smith. Alfred A. Knopf, Random House. 2015. $19.99 ages 3 and up

""Toes, go to sleep!"
said Fiona.

Toes were for gripping
flip-flops on the way
to the beach.

Toes were easy.
They went right to

A day at the beach is not just what Fiona needed to make her too tired to fall asleep quickly. In fact, she is quite sure that she is not ready for sleep at all. She does admit to Mama that she might be 'just a little' tired.

Thus begins her journey to slumber, starting with her toes. She remembers how busy those toes have been gripping her flip-flops all the way to the water. Her toes are soon asleep. Her feet are next. They, too, have been busy in the sand and waves. As soon as they tire, she moves on to her knees, her legs, her tummy, her shoulders, her arms, her hands, her fingers, her mouth - finally, her ears, eyes and mind. Aaaah!

What a brilliant way to have young children think back on their busy day, while allowing their tired bodies to yield to sleep at the end of it. Oh, so calming for a child (and perhaps for myself when sleep is elusive at the end of the day), and full of promise for the day to come tomorrow.

The design of the book is very appealing. Full page spreads of beach fun and frolic are accompanied by an insert which shows Fiona working magic on her own tired body ... talking with a quiet, encouraging voice. The sunshine that radiates for each of the shared activities during the day is contrasted to the insert's cool blues and growing darkness. Maggie Smith uses watercolor, gouache, fabric and digital media to create the lively artwork sure to have little ones sharing their own similar experiences.

Fun and fitting, especially for those children who don't just fall into bed exhausted at the conclusion of their always busy days. If you need to relax at the end of your day, even you may want to try Fiona's approach.                                                                          

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