Louise Zanni (text), Anna Pignataro (illus), Too Busy Sleeping, Little Hare Books, 1 September 2015, unpaged, $24.95 (hbk), ISBN 9781742979625
Too Busy Sleeping is a gentle, sensitive and delightful story about a little girl’s curiosity and eagerness to play with her new baby brother.
As with any older sibling adjusting to changed family dynamics, Eleanor experiences feelings of frustration and disappointment. But it is only with good intentions to engage with Rueben; the baby who is always too busy sleeping. She imagines carting him to the park and sharing her blocks with him, but to her dismay newborns have their own agendas. Granny and Grandad help to pre-occupy her while she waits. Eleanor finally gets her time to dote over the tiny bub; an utterly divine and precious moment.
Written in simple, age-appropriate language about her own daughters’ first meeting, Zanni Louise beautifully captures the associated emotions and excitement of an older sister’s introduction to a little sibling. With that said, it is heartwarming to see a mostly positive attitude towards the new baby, rather than one of complete jealousy. The tenderness is matched with Anna Pignataro’s superb layered and textured pale watercolour and gouache paints, with paper and fabric collage, suitably emanating that warm, homely feel.
Too Busy Sleeping encourages young children to utilise positive strategies in coping with family changes and learning to wait, but also reassures them that their home is always a safe and loving place. The importance of grandparents (or other extended family members) in supporting roles is also integrated effectively.
A charming book for children aged 2 – 6, and particularly those with a sibling on the way, or as a way to reflect on those adorable ‘first-time’ moments.
Reviewed by Romi Sharp