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The Picture Book Buzz

Bunny Should Be Sleeping - Perfect Picture Book Buzz #PPBF

The talented Amy Hest (Kiss Goodnight) and Renata Liwska (The Quiet Book) have teamed up to create a stunning bedtime picture book full of gentle humor and loving reassurance.

Book Cover - a little bunny peeking around a corner holding a book, with one wheel of his wagon just visible off to the left.

Bunny Should Be Sleeping

Author: Amy Hest

Illustrator: Renata Liwska

Publisher: Neal Porter Books/Holiday House (20204)

Ages: 4-8



Bedtime, family, emotions, dads, caring, and safety.


Bunny should be sleeping, but instead, he is waiting for Dad to come check on him. Dad always checks on him, but tonight, Dad is late.

Bunny can’t wait anymore— he needs his dad! Slipping out of bed, Bunny packs a wagon of everything Dad might need: some water, a blanket, a snack, and their favorite book to share. Down the hall and through the dark, Bunny finds Dad fast asleep, oblivious to all the supplies Bunny offers him.

At last, Bunny resorts to a tap on the nose to wake Dad up. Dad checks on Bunny, and Bunny checks on Dad, who is happy to see him, if still groggy. They read their special book, and all is right with the world again.

Bestselling author Amy Hest teams up with Renata Liwska, illustrator of Deborah Underwood’s The Quiet Book, for a bedtime book as adorable and warm as two sleepy bunnies. Sure to soothe children dubious about staying in their rooms alone at night, Bunny Should Be Sleeping reminds young readers that they are safe and loved even when the house is dark and quiet.

Opening Lines:

It is a cold winter night. Bunny should

be sleeping. But he is listening instead.

Listening to the quiet. It is very, very quiet

What I LOVED about this book:

The opening scene of a little bunny in his crib, worriedly listening with all his might, will be very familiar for many kids. Even if the dark doesn't bother them, the fear of missing out on the fun often does.

For Bunny, it's worse. Dad always checks on him. But this time, he hasn't. I've always adored the softness and animal characterizations of Renata Liwska's illustrations. She's done such an awesome job with the setting of a dark, quiet house on a moonlit night. Her images are simply stunning! There's even bunny slippers and a nightlight.

Internal spread - bunny sit up in his crib lookig across the room to his wagon in the moonlight.

Text © Amy Hest, 2024. Image © Renata Liwska, 2024.

Bunny’s toes are warm. His blanket is

soft, and the moon hovers over the pond.

Bunny should be sleeping. But here in his

bed in the quiet, all by himself in the quiet,

Bunny waits.

Soon Dad will come. He will come in the night

to check on his little Bunny. Come on, Dad!

Check on me, check on me, check on me!

Like any little body, Bunny decides to take matters into his own hands. Afterall, sometimes a bunny "just needs his dad." So, he climbs out of bed, gathers the necessary "things for Dad on a cold winter night" - water, blanket, cookie, and their favorite book, and heads out to find Dad. Hest and Liwska masterfully capture a "child-like" innocence and sincerity in little Bunny's preparations. I can't help but chuckle every time I see Bunny filling a thermos from the watering can. And everyone needs a bedtime cookie, right?

Internal spread - on the right, bunny places a book into a red wagon. On the right, clockwise, cameos of bunny filling a thermos from a watering can, wrapping himself in a blanket, holding a cookie, and looking at a book.

Text © Amy Hest, 2024. Image © Renata Liwska, 2024.

I love all the little touches Liwska added to the home. Bunny's framed art, the portraits (including Panda's), doodles along the baseboards, etc. When Bunny finds Dad - asleep, well he does what any good Bunny does and waits for Dad to wake up. The next three spreads and sweet refrain are wonderful. Three wordless images of Bunny trying to care for Dad and cameos of him ultimately entertaining himself, as "Dad sleeps on."

Internal spread - on the left bunny unrolls his blanket. On the right, runs about with this blanket as a cape.

Text © Amy Hest, 2024. Image © Renata Liwska, 2024.

Finally, Bunny taps Dad's nose, and . . . the ending is more tender, gorgeous, and fulfilling than you can imagine. It is the perfect book for snuggling with wee ones before bed. I love how Hest seamlessly weaves in echoed phrases from the little Bunny and his dad, highlighting and reinforcing their loving relationship, and how Liwska's end papers beautifully wrap the story in a soft, wintery hug. With just the right touch of nighttime adventure, reassurance, and love, this is a picture book to treasure.


Photo of a father and duaghter  with 13 calming bedtime activities.
  • do you have something special you do before bed or to help you sleep? Create your own special bedtime routines. Here are a few ideas.

  • what special items would you have put into bunny's wagon? Maybe something you like to have with you when you sleep.

  • pair this with Bear Snores On and Bear Can't Sleep by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman, and In the Night Garden by Carin Berger.

If you missed the fun interview with Amy Hest and Renata Liwska on Monday, find it (here).

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


Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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