If you’ve ever tried to put a little one to bed, you know it can be a real challenge. Whether it’s that one last story, a sudden desperate need for a glass of water or just a wriggling reluctance to go to sleep, bedtime can take awhile. Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin wants to help. He’s the author of a series of books specifically crafted to lull children off to sleep, and the first, The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep, was a world-wide bestseller with parents all over the world singing its praises. Now he’s back with a brand new story in The Little Elephant Who Wants to Fall Asleep.
It has a deliberately simple story. Ellen the Elephant is starting to feel tired, and is heading through the magical forest to find a place where she can sleep soundly for the rest of the evening. Together with the child the story is being read to, Ellen begins her journey and meets several characters along the way – some of whom are even asleep already!
The language in this book is more crucial than the plot. Sections of text are in bold, to indicate that they should be emphasised by the parent, some parts are in italics, which should be said gently and softly, and there are key areas to insert yawns. It also mentions the child by name repeatedly, to help integrate and invest them into the story.
The illustrations are by Sydney Hanson, and since the entire story is set at night, feature soft blues and greens in the light of the moon. Ellen the Elephant is very cute, as are the friends she meets like Snoozy Mole, Dozing Daniel and even Roger the Rabbit.
Compared to other picture books, The Little Elephant Who Wants to Fall Asleep does have lots of text, because it may not take the whole book before your child is snoozing. In terms of age range, the book has had success for sleep deprived babies, children and adults alike!
The trick is repetition and routine. Some parents reported reading the story at least twice before their child drifted off the first night, but by rereading it on consecutive nights, soon had the routine down to 8 minutes. It can also help to make sure the child is already prepared for bed, ideally even a bit worn out! Forssén Ehrlin also says in no way should his books replace other books at bedtime – they’re a companion, specifically to help the child drift off to sleep at the end of a normal storytime routine.
It’s also important to adapt. Perhaps your child doesn’t like their name being used in the story, they might need one bit read over again, or maybe the audiobook would be a better fit. Forssén Ehrlin says to observe and adapt to make the story work best for your individual audience.
And of course, every child is different. There’s a disclaimer at the start that although the author and publisher ‘very much hope your little one falls asleep’ they make no guarantees.
If you’re looking for a new, peaceful way to help your child head off to sleep, The Little Elephant Who Wants To Fall Asleep is certainly worth a try – just make sure you don’t find yourself nodding off in the process…
Head here to learn more or purchase a copy of The Little Elephant Who Wants To Fall Asleep!