Meet the Sullivans: The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep, a Children's Book Review

August 27, 2015

The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep, a Children's Book Review

Owen is not an easy sleeper. He never has been. His naps, bedtime, wake time and restlessness have always been unpredictable and a complete mystery to us. We feel like we've tried everything, and we're still willing to try almost anything to help him.

We've been reading The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep book (the one that so many people have been talking about) for a full week now. A lot of people, like us, just want to know if it really works.


How does it work exactly? Let me tell you all the details.
  • the book is paper back
  • uses an "improved language pattern that will help your child to relax and fall asleep",
  • takes over 20 minutes to read (give or take depending on how slowly you read, which really, the slower you read it the more effective it is), 
  • has pictures on each page (that you're not supposed to show the child because it will distract them from relaxing) 
  • uses text cues for parents to remind them to read slowly, emphasize certain words, or use certain actions, 
The story is about a rabbit who can't seem to fall asleep. His mother suggests they, including your child who becomes a part of the story,  go on a journey to visit Uncle Yawn who will help them fall asleep. Along the way they meet two characters, Heavy-Eyed Owl and Sleepy Snail, who also try to encourage them to fall asleep. After meeting Uncle Yawn they make the journey home, stopping to talk with the same two characters again. The story ends with the rabitt back at home, asleep in bed.


The Good
  • The book helps calm Owen down. The story is calming, it uses lots and lots of repetition and encouragement to help children fall asleep. 
  • There are a lot of verbal cues meant to convince children that it is time to go to sleep and that it is ok if they do so before the story is over.
  • Because we read it every night it has become a predictable part of our routine, which helps Owen know it is time to get into bed and relax (not that that always works).
  • There is a letter in the front of the book that tells you how you're supposed to use the book.
The Bad
  • It's really long in my opinion, and takes me over 20 minutes to read to him. Some nights, especially when O hasn't napped, we don't need much to get him to doze off, but I can see why it's so long -- because it's supposed to bore encourage children into relaxation. 
  • The sentence structure is awful. It's hard to read at first because of this, but after a while I got used to it. I guess you have to just settle that this is not some great chidlren's literature and remember that the way it is written has a purpose, even if it goes against everytinng you know about writing.  
  • Here is an example of the text in the book: "--Where are you off to now? asked Sleepy Snail curiously. --I am going down to visit Uncle Yawn, said Roger The Rabbit, because he will help me fall asleep now. How do you, make yourself fall asleep? Asked the Roger" Like I said, the writing it a little awkward and takes some time to get used to. 
  • The word "now" is peppered through the book, and often serves as it's own sentence. I'd love to count how many time it's used, but I don't have the patience to count.
My honest verdict: The book is being promoted as a "miracle worker" that will get your child to fall asleep in a snap, but that just has not been the case for us. Owen is a determined little guy, and while the book does help calm him down and help him unwind, he has never fallen asleep while listening to it. Although, I have seen his eyes get heavy as we read, but it hasn't done much to benefit how quickly he falls asleep after the book is over.

Just like most things with children, it all depends on your child -- and how tired they are. 


Have you tried this book? What did you think?

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