Go to Sleep, Jessie by Libby Gleeson
Ill. By Freya Blackwood. Little Hare, 2014. ISBN 9781742977805
(Age: Preschool - Yr 2) Jessie now shares big sister Jo's bedroom now and she won't go to sleep. Every night she screams and screams and Jo cannot get to sleep. Even sharing T-Bear only works for a little while and mum and dad aren't a lot of help when Jo pleads with them to do something. A clean nappy and a lullaby only work for a little while until Jo demands her own room back - she NEEDS to sleep. "You wouldn't like that," says Mum and when Dad finally puts Jessie in the car and drives her around the block again and again and again Jo realises mum is right. So when Jessie wakes again after the long car ride, she has to think of another solution.
This is a lovely story from the brilliant pairing of Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood that will resonate with many young children who share a room with their baby brothers or sisters. It's a story of love and tenderness and is so real that it will strike a chord with most. The classic muted tones of Blackwood's illustrations are there but this time in tones of blue and orange which juxtapose the upstairs and downstairs worlds of the house as well as the peace and love in the story with the noise and frustration of Big Sister. Blackwood writes about this in her blog.
I love these sorts of pictures books because they provide an opportunity for the children to become so involved in the story - most of them have a similar story to share or something to contribute and they're the perfect opportunity to start the prediction and problem-solving processes. In this case, asking them "What would you do?" and "What do you think Jo will do?" will open lots of talk and help little ones realise that stories are fun, stories can be about them and they have something worthwhile to offer. Essential steps as they develop their early literacy skills.