The author has shared this book to be an aid to helping children fall asleep. It is designed for ages 4-8. The premise of the story is a mother bear helping her son get ready for bed. So she begins telling him a story of how important it is for children to get their sleep because it helps to clean their brains. Sleep helps to get rid of all the trash that builds up in the brain during the day. Baby bear asks what happens if he doesn't get enough sleep. So, mother continues to tell him, "If you don't get enough sleep, your brain doesn't have enough time to clean up. Trash gets left behind. It can build up and get in the way, making it harder for you to learn-or even feel happy." Little bear replies, "I want a nice, clean brain, Momma!"
They get comfy cozy and she begins telling him a good-night story filled with many characters, Eli, the anteater, Chloe, the kitty, Liam, the baby llama, Aslan, the puppy, Louie, the lion, Emmy, the emu, and Shakespeare, the seal. They travel together for an adventure.
Let me say that the illustrations by Gail Yerrill are just beautiful. I feel she marvelously captured these little critters and brought them to life for children to experience a delightful treasured adventure. Although most of the colors are soft hues, there's the perfect amount of bright and cheerful coloring for capturing the imagination of little ones.
Throughout the story imagery is the highlight for the little ones, each character telling a story of their own, and enough activity to keep the mind busy for quite a long time. That's where my thoughts are differing from the author. I have always read books to my children and grands before bed. If your little ones love books and have a vivid imagination be prepared to have reading time last for a while.
You could literally take off on a journey using your own words and have your children add to the story also making for a great afternoon escape. There's lots here for the imagination. They travel in a bus to the beach. They play until exhausted, the load up and head for home. Once home they enjoy a nice bath and then dinner. After eating they all begin to cuddle up and fall asleep.
As the book closes, the mother shares with baby bear, "You feel so happy, but also very, very tired. Eli, Emmy, Liam, Chloe, Aslan, and Shakespeare are all drifting off to sleep. Louie is gently snoring. Even though you want to stay up, your eyes seem to close all by themselves. They won't open again until the morning, when your brain is clean and you are ready to have another amazing day."
Now the little critters are pictured once again, all of them off in their own dreamland, giving once again lots for little ones to imagine.
I understand teaching little ones reasons as to why our sleep is so valuable. I too understand sharing a beautiful story to set our children off to dreamland for a sweet night of rest. For my grands this just isn't a book to get them off to a quick sleep. It's one that I feel you could spend much time in exploring your words to share with these gorgeous illustrations.
So, would I purchase this book for my grands? As for a falling asleep book, probably not. Would I purchase this book as a Christian book? That's whats missing. Prayer and thanksgiving were missing. I'm not sure why this book is listed as Christian because it didn't contain anything about teaching faith and prayer to little ones, filling their hearts and minds with thanksgiving before bed. There wasn't anything about God at all. It seems that would be a wonderful beginning to goodnight time with little ones. So, I'm disappointed to see that missing. But for a beautiful book to give them room for their imaginations to soar? You bet. It's a sweet book that has potential for the parent and child to spend time together using imagination and that alone is a sweet gift.
This book was a gift from Zondervan for sharing my review with you.
Daniel Amen, M.D. The Washington Post called Daniel Amen, M.D. the most popular psychiatrist in America. He is a physician, child and adolescent psychiatrist, and ten-time New York Times bestselling author. Dr. Amen is widely regarded as a gifted teacher and storyteller. His public television programs about the brain have aired 80,000 times across North America. Dr. Amen is the founder of Amen Clinics in Costa Mesa and San Francisco, CA; Bellevue, WA; Reston, VA; Atlanta, GA; and New York City. He lives in Newport Beach, California, and has four children and four grandchildren.
Gail Yerrill lives in Befordshire, England. She has illustrated and designed products for Marks & Spencer, Harrods, and the BBC among others. Gail has illustrated many children's books, and is known for her soft, whimsical style which is well-loved by children and adults alike.