Sleep Like a Tiger

Image of Sleep Like a Tiger: A Caldecott Honor Award Winner (Caldecott Medal - Honors Winning Title(s))
Release Date: 
October 23, 2012
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Reviewed by: 

Since the beginning of time and the formation of the family as a unit, parents have faced the daunting task of enforcing bedtime even as their drowsy-eyed children argue that they’re simply “not sleepy.”

This is the premise of Sleep Like a Tiger, by Mary Logue. In the book, a precocious little girl is just not sleepy. The moon and the stars are out, but she’s just not sleepy. The dog is asleep on the couch (where it shouldn’t be), and the cat has found a warm spot in front of the fireplace. But the little girl is . . . just not sleepy.

Such stubbornness is usually fodder for ultimatums and temper tantrums, but the parents in this book have wisdom on their side. Instead of insisting that their daughter is indeed sleepy, they tell her what she wants to hear; namely, that she can stay awake as long as she wants, as long as she brushes her teeth, washes her face, puts on her favorite PJs, and slides under her warm blanket.

In no time, the conversation shifts. Her parents teach her that everything in the world goes to sleep; snails curl up inside their shells, whales swim lazily round and round in the ocean, and even the mighty tiger grabs a nap whenever he can to keep himself strong.

Suddenly, the girl is curling up under her blanket, she is moving lazily round and round, and she is preparing for a nap to make her strong.

This is a lovely bedtime book. Ms. Logue’s text and dialogue have just enough lilt and soft, woozy persuasion to coax even the most-wide awake child, or adult, into deep, needed sleep. The book’s cover—a royal sleeping tiger cuddling next to a sleeping child—is oddly reminiscent of another well-loved, dreamy book from long ago called Where The Wild Things Are. The remaining illustrations are equally dreamy and should quickly whisk readers back to days when crayons not cartoons were king and free time at the art table was an afternoon’s wish come true.