cover image Sleepyheads


Sandra J. Howatt, illus. by Joyce Wan. S&S/Beach Lane, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4424-2266-7

Howatt debuts with a bedtime story that, true to its theme, is quiet and somnolent in tone. An unseen narrator points out a handful of sleeping animals, including a bird in a nest, a squirrel in the hollow of a tree, and a piglet in a barn. Rather than identify the animals, the text refers to each as “sleepyhead,” leaving space for children to provide each creature’s name. The repetitive structure of Howatt’s sturdy rhymed couplets is soothing, if a bit repetitive at times: “Look! I see a sleepyhead snuggled in the reeds./ I see another sleepyhead resting in the weeds.” Wan’s (My Lucky Little Dragon) spare and gentle illustrations are more distinctive, as she portrays the animals in soft, rounded shapes to create an inviting and secure atmosphere. The subdued palette befits the nighttime setting, with glimmers of light provided by a crescent moon, stars, and fireflies. An image of a baby asleep in its mother’s arms brings the book to a sweet close. Ages 4–8. Illustrator’s agent: Teresa Kietlinski, Prospect Agency. (May)