The Picture Book Buzz

As Babies Dream - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

One of my favorite books for 2020 was Lesléa Newman's touching and poignant picture book Remembering Ethan. This week, I am highlighting her newest book. It is a sweet, tender bedtime book sure to create some wonderful snuggle moments with caregivers.

As Babies Dream


Author: Lesléa Newman


Illustrator: Taia Morley


Publisher: Magination Press


Ages: 3-6


Fiction


Themes:

Family, bedtime, rhyming, nature, and love.


Synopsis:

This sweet, rhyming bedtime lullaby is a calming ode to nature as a loving family embraces their child as night falls and dream time begins. From rivers to eagles, to lions and lambs, to leaves and rain, and to stars and the moon, the soothing sounds of the world become the inspiration for a loving night of restful sleep for a weary baby. This book shares the spirit of shared community and the common values of love and hope.


Opening Lines:

As the crows fly,

and the rivers flow,

As the eagles cry,

and the winds blow,


What I LIKED about the book:

Written as a single sentence in an alternating quatrain - four line stanzas (across double spreads) with the rhyming pattern of abab - this gentle poem creates a sweet snuggle moment for a child to wind down and prepare for bed.


Taia Morley's colorful, tender, almost chalk-like illustrations help foster this lullaby feeling as they gradually deepen through twilight to night and highlight both the actions and snuggles of numerous animals and their babies.

Text © Lesléa Newman, 2021. Image © Taia Morley, 2021.


Though some have questioned the presence of a lion, in an otherwise mostly forest and farmland setting, suggesting it was done because of the rhyme, it might also be for the representation of the lion and the lamb settling in for the night near each other. "As the hawks soar/ and the frogs leap, // As the lions roar/ and the lambs sleep" They do feel a little out of place, though I have more of an issue with breaking the pattern of showing adults and their young in the depiction of the hawks and the frogs.

Text © Lesléa Newman, 2021. Image © Taia Morley, 2021.


However, the tender expressions of the animals, even the snakes, as they interact with their young and the gentle lyrical text, help create a comforting and calming bedtime book. As night falls, the poem goes from dozing cows to the moon, earth, and stars. Then ultimately, to a sweet spread sure to bring smiles. Overall, this is a wonderful, inclusive bedtime book full of love and caring.


Resources:

- help wrap up or snuggle a special stuffed friend as you read the story.

- draw a picture of your favorite animal and baby getting ready for bed.

- read I Just Want to Say Good Night by Rachel Isadora or Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night? by Brianna Caplan Sayres, illustrated by Christian Slade, if you need a few more bedtime books.


If you missed it, be sure to check out Monday's interview with Lesléa Newman (here).


This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

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Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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