Children have been fighting “sleepy-by” since the beginning of time, and parents have been searching for ways to bring on the Sandman for equally as long. Thankfully, a new interactive picture book called ABZzz: A Bedtime Alphabet, by Isabel Minhos Martins, can be added to that arsenal.
An adorable cover illustration of a young girl letting loose a cavernous yawn should hopefully get the “sleepy” ball rolling for the young picture book lover. If it doesn’t, the “snake charmer” foreword just may start those eyelids drooping. It warns:
“Some people begin to yawn
Before they get to letter B.
Others stay awake till P.
Nearly everyone is snoring
By the time they reach S.”
After this lovely introduction, young readers and the adults who yearn for them to finally fall asleep move through the alphabet from letter A to letter Z. Children hear that “A” is for “Awake”…because the child is still awake (but not for long!); “B” is for a “Brain” that’s full of squiggly, squirming images of all the things they’ve done that day, like riding a tricycle, going for a walk or playing with the dog. It goes on to discuss the other important letters of the alphabet, like “C” for the cat that cuddles up and goes to sleep, and “F” for the fly that buzzes around like the worries that may be buzzing in a child’s mind. There are, of course, adorable mini-stories for each letter of the alphabet.
This is a sweet book that just may bring a yawn from the adult who happens to be reading it. Artist Yaro Kono draws pictures of sleepy owls saying “Good morning” just before they and their little owlets drift off to sleep, because that’s how owls do it; leopards sleeping on tree limbs, and birds snuggling in their nests to await the morning sun.
Ms. Martin’s prose is vocabulary-appropriate, emotion-appropriate, and delivered in a soothing, laid-back way that’s sure to conjure up a few zzzz’s from anyone within a few feet of the book. She is as persuasive with children as she is fearless, even using the letter “P” to tackle the dreaded “puddle of pee” and reminded children to be sure to go before bedtime.
This busy, busy book is about teaching young children to put all the memories and images of an exciting day behind them, and then to lay back, closing those heavy eyes, and welcome in the mighty Sandman.