Shhhhh! Everybody's Sleeping by Julie Markes
Illustrated By: David Parkins
Geared Towards: Ages 3-6
Published By: Harper Collins
Publication Date: December 2004
Oi vey! This book is one that we checked out of the library close to two months ago, and I'm still holding on to it in order to write a review. And you've got to understand, our library system only gives 2wk borrowing periods. That means, I've re-checked the book out 3x (max allowed is generally twice), plus I'm apparently now holding it hostage as late fees build up. So, again. Oi vey! LOL
I just had to write a review though because it was such an incredibly inventive and cute little book. Certainly I could have written the review without the book, but to be able to look at it while typing the review allows me to be able to share so much more about the great experience reading this one will be.
Shhhhh! Everybody's Sleeping is one of the best bedtime books I've ever read. It's very simplistic, and there's really not a lot of anything go on. As the title implies, everybody's sleeping. Everyone, that is, except for the little boy and his mom who is trying to coerce him into lying down. So, if the story is so simple due to everyone being asleep, you might ask, then why is this book so fantastic? Well, the answer to this is quite simple. The illustrations.
Not to discredit Markes on her writing ability by any means, but honestly without the illustrations by Parkins this book wouldn't have been anything special. This is a book where truly the collaboration of author and illustrator comes together to form a brilliant piece of work.
The very first dual page spread shows an illustration of the entire town dark and peaceful, with only a light on here and there. Then when the story begins we find the town teacher snuggled all warm and cozy, fast asleep, in her bed. Meh, you might say. Nothing special about that. Oh, but there is. Again, this is a book that fully relies on the illustrations to make it such a joy to read. You see, the teacher isn't asleep in just any old bed. No. Her bedroom appears to be set up in the middle of her classroom, with shelves of supplies lining the wall. Then you notice her bed. The headboard is made from a chalkboard, the footboard two small child desks. Her bedding has alphabets and numbers on it. Her nightstand is a school room chair. And let's not forget her lovey, brainy stuffed owl sleeping alongside her.
See what I mean? Very creative and inventive! The text, "The teacher is sleeping. School's done for the day." has a nice lulling sound to it, but it doesn't paint the picture the illustration itself does.
So it is throughout the whole book. We look in on the librarian, fast asleep in her library bedroom- bed and table lamp shaped like books. We check in on the policeman, asleep under his road blanket (having fallen asleep with a traffic whistle in his mouth and driving minature cars on the blanket roads) in his bed with it's traffic light posts and crosswalk signs. Next is the fireman, asleep in his giant firetruck bed. The doctor curled up in his hospital bed with a "Zzzz" health chart on the end. The grocer, asleep in his lettuce and cabbage bed, with the fruit box footboard and watermelon bedside lamp. There's also the post master sound asleep in his bed like wrapped parcels with a stamp bedspread on top. The farmer in his barn bed complete with hay stuffing, a sheep pillow, and cow blanket. Don't forget the baker, asleep with her mixing spoon in her gingerbread man pie bed alongside her bagette and cracker table. The gardener in his white picket fence bed, quietly dozing on his sunshine pillow with his grassy meadow blanket, alongside the flower pot nightstand. Plus the zookeeper in his bed of animals and even the President in his stately American flag and eagle bed.
The entire concept of the story is that the mom of the young child is trying to lull him to sleep by telling him about all the other people in town, who have big important jobs, but still have time to sleep. In the end the child cuddles up with his stuffed bunny, and drops off to dreamland.
It really is a fun and soothing story. I don't think we've actually read it at bedtime, though for obvious reasons, that'd be ideal. We have read this one countless times though, and both of my daughters (especially dd#2 who is 3) can't seem to get enough. Since I'm sure the library would really appreciate my finally returning this long over beauty, I am probably going to have to break down and buy a copy of our own. It's just that well loved already!
OUR RATING: 5 hearts (Did you think after that rave review we'd give it anything but?! hehe)