Since babies learn by seeing and doing, the best way to help a wide-eyed baby get to sleep is to mimic all the things we do just before we drift off to sleep. That’s what happens in the cute and cuddly, over-sized picture book by the late Margaret Wise Brown, called Sleep Tight, Sleepy Bears.

In the book, a big furry bear with droopy eyes looks like he’s ready for a good night sleep. He gets into bed, and a sleepy-looking baby bear jumps into bed beside him. He puts his head on his pillow, and the baby bear does the same. Then he closes his eyes, and…you guessed it, the baby bear closes his eyes, too. Afterwards follows one of the best sleepy-time rituals of all — the one from your childhood that you probably thought you’d forgotten. The big sleepy bear says, “When I lay me down to sleep, four bright angels around me keep.” There are variations of the prayer, the most memorable of which is, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep…”

This is one of the sweetest, softest, cuddliest, and oh-so-quiet picture books out there, and it is perfect for sleepy-heads ages 0 to 4. The illustrations of furry bears, fluffy pillows, droopy eyes and cavernous yawns are adorable — and super-persuasive in terms of coaxing a little one to sleep. The pastels of pale purple, soft blue, honey brown and soothing yellow are definitely Sandman-friendly. And the sweet prose should lull anyone, old or young, into a safe, restful sleep.

Enjoy…and goodnight!


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