It’s hard to write a new bedtime book that isn’t trite and stale since the theme has been attempted so many times before, to different results — but I think we’ve found a new classic. The little girl in Sleep Like a Tiger isn’t sleepy — or so she repeatedly tells her unruffled parents, who nonetheless manage to get her to change into her pajamas, wash her face, brush her teeth and lie on the bed. Instead of nagging her to sleep, they even tell her that she can stay up all night if she wants. Reverse psychology perhaps, but it works.
Then, as with all kids who try to delay their bedtime, the girl starts bombarding her parents with questions, beginning with the thought-provoking,”Does everything in the world go to sleep?” which the author uses to expand on different animals’ sleeping habits in a lyrical yet matter-of-fact way: “They curl up like a cinnamon roll inside their shell” (on snails) or “They make a cozy den under the snow and sleep through winter” (on bears).
I love the dialogue between the inquisitive girl and her patient parents, which feels like something that could conceivably take place between me and my kids, but the artwork — and it is truly a work of art — is what makes the book outstanding. The style is at once dreamy, fairy-tale-like, whimsical, gentle and surreal, and every page has a wealth of details that beg to be discovered — my son couldn’t help interrupting me several times when I was reading the book aloud to him, by pointing out all the things that caught his eye, to my chagrin, but I can’t really fault him for being attracted by the artwork… If you’re wondering, the girl does fall asleep in the end, making this the perfect bedtime book.