A new mother told me that her baby received four copies of Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown as gifts from friends who knew that this book is a classic for children. It’s even more popular since it is published as a board book. However, “Go to Sleep” books have multiplied in recent years, and I want to introduce you to two of them that I think are special.
I recently became acquainted with the work of Nancy Tillman, a well-known illustrator, whose stunning paintings combine with the text by Eric Metaxas, in It’s Time to Sleep, My Love. Tillman is an outstanding wild-life artist, and in this book a child will delight in all kind of wondrous creatures from frogs to giraffes who are getting sleepy. “It’s time to sleep, my love,” is the repeated refrain “droned by the drowsy bumblebee inside its hive in a tree” as well as “I’m getting very sleepy now, so moos the tired milking cow” and others. A gorgeous painting of the collection of animals in a hot air balloon reminds the reader that “Your dreams will be arriving soon. They’ll float to you in sleep’s balloon.” The story ends with assurances of love.
The artwork in a picture book is a large part of not only the charm, but the teaching of a book. Tillman’s art says so much that needs to be noticed. Readers will see something new each time the book is read, and children will soon “read the pictures.” The illustrations in a book educate the child’s imagination as well as giving an experience of wonder and beauty.
Tillman’s wonderful book On the Night You Were Born has been on the bestseller list, and when you open the cover, you will know why! It begins
On the night you were born,
the moon smiled with such wonder
that the starts peeked in to see you
and the night wind whispered,
“Life will never be the same.”
Because there had never been anyone like you ever in the world.
Both of these books will be favorites for a long time—I suspect all of the pre-school years and will carry nostalgia beyond that because of the delightful illustrations. Consider them for your own library and mark them down as possible gifts for future birth announcements. Show them to the grandmothers you know!