cover image So Sleepy Story

So Sleepy Story

Uri Shulevitz, . . FSG, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-374-37031-2

Just as the first snowfall introduced magic in the quiet town of Shulevitz's Snow , here music puts a sleeping household under its spell. The book opens when night falls upon a little house, and sleep overtakes its inhabitants. The artist's choice to anthropomorphize every creature and household item—from the faces on the dishes, to the legs on the table, all portrayed with tightly closed eyes—indicates that nothing is immune to slumber. Text steeped in repetition and alliteration creates a soporific effect ("sleepy cuckoo-clock/ by sleepy dishes/ on sleepy shelves/ and a sleepy cat/ on a sleepy chair"). Muted watercolors in twilight tones reinforce the sense of stillness. With the sudden introduction of music, the house begins to awaken, and color slowly washes across the pages, creating a daybreak effect. The text disappears, and the previously framed illustrations burst into full-bleed paintings. Words seem to be no longer necessary, as the music creates an energy all on its own. But as the action winds down and each object (plus a sleepy boy) returns to sleep, readers will not doubt that this process will inevitably begin again. Much like a child's nighttime routine, this story is an ode to the predictable rhythms yet also the surprising moments that comprise an ordinary day. Ages 3-6. (Aug.)