________________ CM . . . . Volume IX Number 2 . . . . September 20, 2002

cover How Sleep Found Tabitha.

Maggie de Vries. Illustrated by Sheena Lott.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2002.
32 pp., cloth, $19.95.
ISBN 1-55143-193-9.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.

Review by Val Nielsen.

*** /4



Sleep would not come to Tabitha. Her eyes, round as headlights, roamed the room.

It's bedtime, but Tabitha is having a hard time falling asleep. Lying in bed surrounded by her favourite toys, Tabitha's imagination begins to work.

"Come sleep with me in the deep blue sea," sings the whale.
"Sleep high up here, where the air is clear," cries the eagle.
"Come slither to sleep where it's dark and deep," whispered the snake.

In How Sleep Found Tabitha, one after the other, Tabitha's bedside toys invite her to sleep in their preferred habitat. Each invitation takes the form of a rhyming couplet. None of the creatures' sleeping places is right for a small girl, however, and when sleep finally comes (unexpectedly as it so often does), it is in a surprising yet familiar form.

internal art

     Author Maggie de Vries co-wrote the 1991 mixed-up fairy tale picture book, Once Upon a Golden Apple, with Jean Little, and last year she had a chapter book entitled Chance and the Butterfly published by Orca. The gentle, rhythmic text of How Sleep Found Tabitha will be appreciated as a bed-time story by readers and young listeners. It is a simply written, repetitive sort of story that children will want to hear read again and again. Award-winning artist Sheena Lott's vibrant watercolours bring the small insomniac and her surroundings to life perfectly. Her double page paintings depicting each toy in its real-life form (for example, the whale in the sea, the eagle on its nest, the frog on its lily pad) are irresistible. A nice touch by the artist is the inclusion of a certain bedtime story lying on the rocking chair in Tabitha's room. It is clear to the reader that the story is Jessie's Mountain, a well-loved picture book illustrated by Lott which was published several years ago.

     How Sleep Found Tabitha will be enjoyed by listeners from 4 to 7, and it would be of particular value to preschool and kindergarten classrooms whose schedules include a nap or rest time. Young listeners will certainly enjoy the rhymes and the surprise ending. Teachers wishing to stimulate imaginative discussion and/or writing among their primary grade students should find the book a valuable read-aloud.


A retired teacher-librarian, Valerie Nielsen lives in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364