Saturday, July 6, 2024

Happy Book Birthday, Sleepy by Jennifer Ward!

Actually, this read comes out in a few days (the 9th), but that's close enough to a book birthday for me to celebrate! This read seems to be heading toward the bedtime read direction and should be a winner for animal fans. But this read promises more! It should settle nicely into the nonfiction realm and share some biology facts, too.

Ready to see how these pages handle everything?

Surprising Ways Animals Snooze
by Jennifer Ward
Illustrated by Robin Page
Beach Lane Books
Picture Book
32 pages
ages 4 to 8

From award-winning author Jennifer Ward and Caldecott Honor illustrator Robin Page, this “real eye-opener” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) nonfiction picture book interweaves informative poems and prose to show the many different ways animals snooze!

Just like people, all animals need sleep, but not all animals sleep in the same way. When dolphins sleep, half their brain stays awake. Snakes sleep with their eyes open. Giraffes sleep in five-minute intervals, while koalas sleep for twenty-two hours a day! From grizzly bears to hummingbirds, there are creatures of all sizes and habitats to wish a good night in this cozy and compelling book.

GOODREADS    /    AMAZON    /     B&N


Gentle tones lead to calming moments, while the wide variety of sleep in the animal world comes to light.

Dolphins, elephants, tortoises, and more are visited in these pages as they slumber in their form of sleep. Many of the creatures are familiar but others are lesser known, offering a wide variety for young listeners/readers to explore. Each animal is given a two-page spread with a four-lined verse to describe something about their sleeping habits in a gentle, flowing rhythm. On the very right hand side, a repetitive phrase 'If you're a...' invites to flip to the next page to find the name of the next animal. While the poetic atmosphere draws listeners into the calming scenes, a short paragraph of information surrounding the science behind the type of sleep stands in the lower, left-hand corner. This is written in a smaller font and carries a few difficult terms for either adults to share with their children or for older readers to explore on their own. At the very end of the book, the definition of the specific terms is explained and a visual comparison between the various animals' sleeping/waking hours is given. It's a lovely way to round things off.

The rhymes are written with the intended age group in mind and offer a lovely read either for bedtime or simply for those, who enjoy visiting the various animals. These flow nicely and work well as a read aloud. These are accompanied by a big and enjoyable illustration of the mentioned animal. These remain the main focus and are easy to recognize. It's enjoyable to flip through these and visit each one again and again. The information in the corner is written in a smaller font, which makes it a bit more difficult to read. I would have found it helpful to have this in its own little box to make it clear, right away, that this was separate from the rhyme, but it works well as it is, too.

This is a well-done book, which offers more than just a simple, nighttime read and offers a few facts listeners are sure to enjoy and, maybe, share their knowledge with others.

And here they are...

Jennifer Ward has written numerous award-winning picture books, including Just You and Me, illustrated by Alexander Vidal; How to Find a Bird, illustrated by Diana Sudyka; Round, illustrated by Lisa Congdon; and Mama Built a Little Nest and Mama Dug a Little Den, both illustrated by Steve Jenkins. A former elementary educator, Jennifer now travels the country as a public speaker visiting schools and literacy conferences. She lives with her family in Edwardsville, Illinois. Visit her at

Robin Page has written and illustrated many picture books celebrating the natural world, including the 2003 Caldecott Honor recipient What Do You Do with a Tail Like This?, which she created with her husband Steve Jenkins, and her own A Chicken Followed Me Home!, Seeds Move!, and Shall We Dance?. Robin lives in Boulder, Colorado. 

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