Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sleep Like A Tiger - book review

"Good as it is to inherit a library it,  it is much better to collect one."                     
                                            ~Augustine Birrell

Title:  Sleep Like A Tiger
Author:  Mary Logue
Illustrator:  Pamela Zagarenski

This fabulous book transports the readers into a magical, dreamy world and induces sleep.  A little girl is not tired and cannot sleep.  Her parents don't scold her or reprimand her but encourage her to put on her pajamas, wash her face, brush her teeth and get ready for bed.  The little girl declares she is still not sleepy.  She obeys her parents wishes and feels good "that she is loved/stretching her toes/ down under the crisp sheets,/ lying as still as an otter/floating in a stream."  She asks if everything in the world sleeps which leads her parents to patiently describe how different animals in different places sleep:  bats  hang upside down, whales float along, bears hibernate and finally tigers curl up like a cat and doze off.   After conversing with her parents about the habits of these animals,  the little girl finally succumbs to her weariness and falls fast asleep just like the strong tiger.

There is a lot of conversation at the beginning of the book and once the little girl is in bed the language becomes more poetic and dream-like, filled with imagery.  The words of the text are warm, cozy and invite you in to share that mood.

The artwork is stunning and beautifully executed.  The girl's toys are vintage reflecting the animals discussed in the text.  An otter floats on the girl's blue quilt as if on the ocean.  There is a recurring teapot and cup, and crowns for the whole family to wear - very surreal.  The illustrations are mixed media painting on wood and computer illustrations, magical indeed, absolutely gorgeous.  This is a perfect read-aloud for bedtime encouraging you to nestle down, get cozy and everyone (including the reader) to go to sleep.

About the author:

"I would have wanted to be a writer when I was a child if I had known it was possible.  When I could only read two words: "you" and "I," I went through a wholebook and circled them. I knew reading was the key to the rest of the world. I wrote my first mystery when I was in sixth grade—it was about a mysterious trail around a pond. I continue to write about mysterious trails around Lake Pepin in my Claire Watkins mystery series. Some things never change.
Poetry, however, is the foundation of my work. I have written four books of poetry, my latest is Hand Work, which came out in 2009. This book was the result of an experiment to write a poem a day for a year. I have also published a young adult novel, Dancing with an Alien, and the Bloodwater mysteries with Pete Hautman. My non-fiction books include a biography of my grandmother, Halfway Home, and a book on Minnesota courthouses, both published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press.
I was an editor at the Village Voice, Graywolf Press, and The Creative Company.  I've published articles in the Village Voice, the New York Times and the Hungry Mind Review. For many years I taught at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. Currently, I'm on faculty in the low-residency Children's Literature MFA program at Hamline University in St. Paul.
I am bi-riverbank, living on both sides of the Mississippi, with writer Pete Hautman in Minnesota and Wisconsin. And Rene and Jacques, our toy poodles." – Mary Logue

About the illustrator:

Caldecott Honor Medalist Pamela Zagarenski is a brilliant painter of many worlds. As well as illustrating picture books, she creates sculptures and large paintings, which can be viewed at an art gallery in Mystic, Connecticut. She divides her time between Stonington, Connecticut, and her house on Prince Edward Island.

        Book Review rating:   9  (close to perfection!)

Read on and read always!   This book is a treasure, in my opinion, and the illustrations are magnificent.  I highly recommend this book for your book collection.  

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