If a parent could vocalize all her deepest hopes for her child, this is what she might say…
Every parent has hopes and dreams for their children— that they will play and explore, learn and grow. That they will experience life’s many wonders and persevere through its many challenges. That they will one day leave the protection of home and go off into the world—strong, happy, knowing that they are always loved.
Maryann Cusimano Love, author of the modern classic You Are My I Love You, has written another moving ode to parenthood, captured in playful, loving images by brilliant newcomer Maria van Lieshout. This timeless book is perfect for bedtime or anytime. Chosen by Imagination Library, Dolly Parton’s childhood literacy foundation, as a 2011 and 2010 selection, sent to one hundred and twenty thousand pre-school children in the communities Imagination Library serves.
Origin of the Story – In the Author’s Words
Rocking our babies back to sleep in the wee hours of the night, I began this lullaby with the soothing rhythm of the old Mother Goose rhyme, “Sleep, baby, sleep, down where the woodbines creep.” In the adaptive tradition of Mother Goose, I changed the verse because our oldest child didn’t like the original Mother Goose. In her words, it “creeped her out. And just what is a woodbine anyway?” I also didn’t want to encourage children simply to be meek and mild as sheep, but wanted to portray their courage, curiosity, and wonder, as they explore and expand their worlds.
Soft watercolor illustrations and soothing rhymes encourage baby to rise, soar, laugh and shine. Adapted from a Mother Goose poem, this exhortation delivers hushed good wishes while emphasizing character traits that make for a happy life. Children should shine “like the firefly who glows / no matter how the darkness grows.” Love’s language lulls using a rhyme scheme and syllabic stresses that establish a comforting cadence, much like a rocking chair’s gentle beat. (Picture book. 1-3)
School Library Journal Reviews
According to an author’s note, this lullaby is set to an old Mother Goose rhyme. Unlike the original poem, it seeks to encourage children not only to be gentle and calm as lambs, but to be dynamic and confident as well: “Be always like the hound who dares/To find adventure everywhere.” The lulling poem is matched with spreads of animal parents and their offspring. The semiabstract cartoon creatures are rendered in ink and watercolor over washes of sunsets and oceans. The result is simultaneously reassuring and celebratory.(PreS)
Laura Butler, Mount Laurel Library, NJ
Feathered Quill Book Reviews
A baby lamb is curled up in blissful sleep as its parents whisper “sleep, baby, sleep.” Thus opens this charming new bedtime story about the daily adventures a lamb, or other baby animal, might have during one day’s time. The effortless rhyming text has a soft, comforting rhythm that should comfort any young child. The prose on each page presents a different activity such as “soar, baby, soar,” and “climb, baby, climb,” with accompanying illustrations of baby animals enjoying the activity under the careful watch of ones parent(s). “Laugh, baby, laugh, frolic like the calf, nose tickled by the grass and rye, eyes twinkling at the beaming sky, laugh, baby, laugh. After many soothing pages, the poem concludes as it started, with “sleep, baby, sleep.” The drawings are simple and bright and complement the story perfectly. This is a book that young children will want read to them over and over.
Quill says: Sleep, Baby, Sleep is the perfect bedtime story.