Enchanted Lion has done it again, found an amazing book from the international picture book world, and published it in English translation. Notably, this book was selected by the New York Public Library as one of the Best Illustrated Children’s Books for 2022, but the narrative is wonderful, too!
Parents everywhere will see their own offspring in the form of little Bo, an imaginative child who isn’t quite ready to go to bed.
It’s evening and Bo is being silly.
He does tumblesaults on the sofa and sings as loud as he can.
Bo’s mother, instead of losing her patience, plays into his fantasy world as they move through the bedtime routine (snack, bath, tooth brushing, hiding under the bed, and finally curling up under the covers). As Bo drifts off to sleep, the mother continues the imaginative narrative, but with a much more lyrical tone, fitting for entering the world of dreams:
“And now you’re a bird,” whispers Mommy. “A swift high up in the sky. You sleep as you fly, through winter and summer, over valley and hill, over all those below you, who sleep and are still.”
Although this last bit of narrative rhymes, leaving the reader with a lovely image of sleep-flying (so dreamlike, yes?), the narrative as a whole is in playful prose, which serves the story well. The author also skillfully incorporates a wide variety of animal behaviors (like the swifts sleep-flying), giving the book a light STEM touch. And the loose, vibrant illustrations provide plenty to pore over, especially on wordless spreads. Highly recommended!
What animals would you like to be before bedtime? Draw a picture of each one and put them up on your bedroom wall to keep you company in dreamland.
Pair this book with Penguin and Tiny Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime by Cate Berry
By yourself, or with the help of an adult, make a list of all the animals and their different behaviors shown in the story. Using the internet, find evidence to prove that those behaviors are accurate.
Title: Bedtime for Bo
Author: Kjersti Annesdatter Skomsvold
Translator: Kari Dickson
Illustrator: Mari Kanstad Johnsen
Publisher (English edition): Enchanted Lion, 2022
Ages: Pre-K through 3rd grade
Themes: bedtime, imaginary play, animal characteristics, STEM
For more perfect picture book recommendations, please visit Susanna Hill’s website.