Books and Beyond

I saw picture book titles recently in New at the Library that interested me. From the titles, I assumed they were all about sleep. One of them I put on hold because it had already been checked out: “Go Sleep in Your Own Bed,” by Candace Fleming and Lori Nichols, c 2017. The children’s librarian told me a person checked it out because her grandchild always wanted to sleep with mother and father, and grandma wanted to read this story to the child. Then when I was reading the book, I checked on the library site and I couldn’t renew it because it was on hold for someone else. This is a popular book!

The story takes place on a farm, and the inside back and front covers have drawings of the farmhouse and farm buildings. The animal drawings are not realistic, but get across the animal as having a definite personality. And they all talk, telling the animal sleeping in the wrong bed to move on and sleep in their own bed. The animal sounds are given, too, for each animal: the pig squeals, the cow moos and bellows, the horse whinnies, the sheep baas, the dog woofs, and the cat meows.

Besides the animal noises, each animal talks the necessary words to tell the next animal to move to its own bed. The interesting ending has the little girl who lives in the house where humans live come and get the cat who is now on their front porch. She says “Come sleep in my bed.” And the last page shows the cat in bed with her. Here she says “Ahhhh!” It’s a cute book and is on a subject we all deal with — sleeping and where we sleep best. I would like to sleep with our cat. I think the grandmother who checked out this book would find that her grandchild now wanted to sleep with a cat!

When I was growing up, my favorite place was on the lower bunk bed where my younger sister slept on the top bunk. Our sleeping habits didn’t bother the other person. The only problem was that before we went to sleep we talked about things that made us giggle. Then our mom would come in and tell us our dad was having trouble sleeping with all the noise we were making! I could write a book about that.

“Time to Sleep,” by Denise Fleming, c 1997, was the next picture book I read. This time the overall theme was getting ready for the season to change. All the animals would advise one another that “winter is on its way.” Vocabulary about winter — things to observe in nature — included frost, leaves turning, days growing shorter. The sky was full of geese honking goodbye. Children listening to the book would hear about bears, snails, skunks, turtles, woodchucks, and ladybugs. They could picture each animal moving to its winter home.

Denise Fleming does her own illustrations, which are colorful and large. On the last page we say goodnight to each animal, and I would say goodnight Zoe and Sebby if I were reading the book to my grandniece and grandnephew.

The third picture book I read was “Be Quiet,” by Ryan T. Higgins, c 2017. I assumed from the title it was a book about sleeping, but it wasn’t! It is a humorous story: Rupert the mouse wants to make a wordless book, but his friends — other mice — don’t get it. They keep talking, want to give Rupert ideas for his book. There are many other beings in the book like a thistle, cucumber, and potatoes. And Vincent van Mouse, a picture hanging on the wall, is a reference to Vincent van Gogh.

I learned on the Disney books site that “Be Quiet” is in the series of Bruce Books, where Bruce the bear is usually the main character. There are 12 pages on the site which guide parents and teachers help 3- to 5-year- olds with many language skills. Just one example: “The book ‘Be Quiet’ presents a great opportunity for readers to explore punctuation and fluency” (p. 5 of the 12 pages titled “The World of Ryan T. Higgins” on www.DisneyBooks.com). Another teaching tool is talking about character traits.There is a list of character traits, and students are asked to think of which animal has a particular trait like silly, smart, grumpy.

Since I was a teacher in my working years, I can understand printing the pages and using them as a reference when reading books to children. The suggestions open many doors for learning. I like the idea of spending that much time on children’s books, and I hope that means I still have some child in me.

Hours at the Marshall-Lyon County Library are 9:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday.

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