Back to sleep by Zoe Foster Blake

cover image

Illus. by Mike Jacobsen. Puffin, 2020. ISBN: 9781760897901.
(Age: 4+) With Dad being carried by his child on the front cover, readers will know they are in for a hilarious tale about the problems involved with getting children to bed. This perennial fly in the family ointment is a cause for mayhem at the best of times even in the calmest of families, with the most compliant children and relaxed parents. It doesn't take much for things to go awry at bedtime, and in this topsy turvy story, things are turned around and its the child who is worn out trying to get his parents to go to sleep.
Finn just nods off to sleep when he hears someone by his bed, asking for a drink. He reminds Mum about her drink bottle but it has rolled under her bed. Retrieving it and taking Mum back to bed means a kiss and tuck in before she is settled. Then Dad wakes Finn after having a bad dream. Finn calms his father but walking back to bed he stumbles over the space station hurting his foot. He now insists on being carried back to bed and will not sleep before a hug and a back rub. Mum then comes into his room with a water problem. The water bottle has spilled in her bed. In the middle of the night Finn must rearrange her bed, pulling out a sleeping bag to sleep in. Unhappily she goes back to sleep.
And on it goes. Poor Finn has a disastrously broken night, catering for his parents, and all the while keeping very quiet, lest he wake the baby, Clem, asleep in the cot in his room.
After a night of getting up to them, cuddling, back rubs, drinks, a lie in and so on, he just gets back to sleep when the inevitable happens and he is once again wide awake.
This uproariously funny back flip on the difficulties getting children to bed is wonderfully supported with equally laugh out loud illustrations creating the several rooms of Finn's night, and appear real. The detail will draw in the readers, the looks on the faces of Finn and the cat revealing the growing annoyance with the situation, while his parents' faces reflect an expectation that Finn will resolve all their needs.
Mike Jacobsen is a Canberra based illustrator and cartoonist who by his own admission is a 'perpetual man-child' which explains his ability to successfully see an adult dilemma from a child's perspective. This will be a wonderful read aloud, read along and read alone.
Themes: Family, Bed time, Relationships, Read aloud.
Fran Knight