Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Sloth Wasn't Sleepy by Kate Messner, illustrated by Valentina Toro

Sloth Wasn't Sleepy written by Kate Messner,
illustrated by Valentina Toro
Sounds True, 2021, 32 pages

One night, Sloth just can't go to sleep. She is anxious and worried about so many things, like slithering snakes, prowling jaguars with big teeth, eagles with sharp talons. No wonder Sloth doesn't want to go to sleep.

But even after her Mama tells her to close her eyes and relax, Sloth is more wide awake that ever. Instead of insisting the Sloth just stay in bed, understanding Mama suggests they not go to sleep quite yet. Rather, she takes Sloth outside to listen to the wind and let it ruffle through her fur. Sometimes that helps Mama relax. 

But when that fails to relax Sloth to sleep, Mama teaches her to take deep relaxing breaths that she can feel them from head to toe. And while that works to make Sloth a little tired, she is still worried about worrying when she goes to bed.

Mama decides to confront the worries head-on. She tells Sloth to imagine one of her worries, and when Sloth conjures up the prowling jaguar, Mama tells her to lay it on a leaf and let it go. One by one, Sloth's worries are sent off on their own leaf until there are no more left. 

Once all of Sloth's worries have been sent on their way, she and Mama do a few more deep breaths from head to toe, and before Mama knows it, Sloth is fast asleep.

Sloth Wasn't Sleepy is just the book that families might need right now, when kids are faced with so many more worries. There's the pandemic, falling behind in school, time on their hands that lets worry and anxiety creep in. And leave it to Kate Messner to come up with the perfect calming story that incorporates mindfullness into the bedtime routine. 

What's really nice about this gentle bedtime/naptime story is that parents and kids can practice the things that Mama has Sloth do to relax. In fact, deep breaths really are calming and relaxing, and visualizing worries being sent away can be practiced any time of day, For example, when kids get anxious and worried about school and homework. 

The illustrations are as gentle as the text. The tree home where Sloth and her Mama live is bright, warm and inviting, while outside the sky is a friendly blue as opposed to a scary pitch black sky. You'll notice that Sloth's worries also begin to lose their scary look as they are sent away.

Once, when my Kiddo was very young, her cousin convinced her that aliens were going to come at night and snatch her away. It was almost impossible to get her to sleep for the next few days. I certainly could have used this book to help her get over her worries at bedtime. I can't recommend it highly enough.

This book is recommended for readers age 4+
This book was gratefully received from the publisher Sounds True

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