The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep, out October 2nd, is being touted as the magic bedtime cure all. Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin, a new author out of Sweden who studied psychology, has decided to tackle the nightly battle that takes place in most homes with young children. Instead of just writing about the story and art, which are unique all on their own, I decided give this one a crash test in our house for a few months. It was this or read Go the F**k To Sleep. (Just kidding, maybe). So grab your favorite snuggly and hunker down.
Roger the Rabbit, the main character, and the listener (the book asks parents to include their kid’s name, while the audiobook just says “You”) can’t sleep, so they decide to walk down to visit Uncle Yawn, a wizard, who will help them to go sleep. Along the way you get advice from Mommy Rabbit, the Kind Sleepy Snail, and the Wise Heavy Eyed Owl about the best way to fall asleep. Together you take a relaxing walk to and from your house, after which everyone snuggles into bed and goes to sleep.
What really makes the book magic is the imagery and the careful cadence that it is written in. Each character introduces another trick to sleeping, like visualization, guided relaxation, and compartmentalizing your thoughts. Little kids don’t see what’s happening, but as an adult you can see what Forssén Ehrlin is going for. Older kids might start to pick up on some of the tricks too, like learning to relax all of your muscles from your toes to your head.
What younger kids benefit from most is the cadence. The book comes with tips on how to read (taking long pauses, drawing words out, deliberately reading slowly, and finishing the entire book—even if your kid is asleep), and the audiobook takes its time, lasting over thirty minutes. Both versions actually have a warning not to listen to/read the book near anyone driving a motor vehicle. You’ve gotta love a bedtime book that warns you about drowsiness.
The book and the art are simple and calm, which are exactly what you need to sleep. Forssén Ehrlin wrote it to be like a meditation on sleep, told by a character who wants to go to sleep, to a kid who is exhausted and should go to sleep. I can say that on more than one occasion our entire family has fallen asleep listening to the audio version. Will it work for everyone? No idea, but it works for us. Plus, it never hurts to add another bedtime book to your little one’s library!
What are your foolproof bedtime reads and rituals?