Sleepy Sheepy Is Not Sleepy

Books Reviews

With one teenager in the house and my middle child about to head off to middle school this fall, I am having issues. I am routinely reminded of how long it is till there is a learner’s permit in our house… or till college. And I am left, like Linda Belcher, shrieking “My babies!” and grasping for hugs.

In reality, my children are kind to me. They all still love being home with us—even the teenager. They all still love a good cuddle—even the teenager. Board game nights and family trips are still the preferred way to spend all our time. Bedtime, however, is a moving target that I fear I will not know I miss until it is gone. Monitoring the tooth brushing, flossing, face washing, bathing, and general cleanliness of three kids at bedtime is no mean feat. But it is always polished off with the snuggles at storytime. It has been years since I read my eldest a true bedtime story, but my impending middle schooler clings to his nightly routine, and the youngest is seven, so she’s locked down! On a good night, we read two picture books and a chapter of something. On a really good night, we might read a dozen books and a handful of chapters.

My youngest has only really in the past year started expressing preferences for authors and characters. Mo Willems is her favorite, along with Anna Dewdney, but coming up close behind are the Bad Seed books. Authored by Jory John and illustrated by Pete Oswald, these books are among her most requested at bedtime, and TheSour Grape was her book choice on our recent road trip to Northshire Books.

Given the dawn of middle school, I am starting to worry when our bedtime routine will shrink to just two of us, and so it is delightful when we find new books to love together. Sleepy Sheepy has become one of those nighttime silly reads we do just for fun. The kids both love the tale and the animation, and we all love parroting the lines back at each other when tucking in.

Despite his name, Sleepy Sheepy is NOT sleepy. He’d much rather skateboard or knit socks than go to sleep. This book tells the tale of every worn-out parent across the world; will Ma and Pa Sheepy ever get their little sheepy to go to sleepy?

All Images: Penguin/Flamingo Books

Sleepy Sheepy comes from the pens of two wonderful children’s book creators, Lucy Ruth Cummins and our beloved Pete Oswald. Cummins has had books chosen as Publishers Weekly Best Books, NPR Best Books, and New York Times Best Children’s Books, while Pete Oswald is the New York Times bestselling illustrator of the Bad Seed series (The Bad Seed, The Good Egg, The Cool Bean, and more).

The story itself is delightful, with Sleepy Sheepy doing everything he can to avoid bedtime, and his parents struggling behind him—with their twins in baby carriers! And while the rhyming scheme and whimsy of the narrative have won my kids over, it is the blue-tinged illustrations of an absolutely exhausted family that gets me every time. Kirkus Reviews calls it “an entertaining tale sure to resonate with those on either side of the bedtime battle,” and I couldn’t agree more.

Perhaps even more than the way true exhaustion is captured on their faces, I adore his final expression. The contentment that comes when a child has been rebelling against something that is good for them and finally gives in to sleep.

Sleepy Sheepy is such a wonderful little character, with a charming family just waiting for more adventures. I can’t wait to see what they do next, after conquering bedtime, of course.

GeekMom received a copy of this book for review purposes.

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