Written by Nancy
Illustrations by Diane Brown
Reviewed by Wayne Harris-Wyrick
Generally, picture books for kids
have one of two primary purposes: to entertain or to inform. While these two
ideas don’t begin to cover all the variations in picture books, virtually all
picture books articulate these two qualities in some proportion.
Virtually all children’s books have a moral or help the child reader understand good choices. The best children’s books both teach and entertain. In Forty Winks, Nancy Brown offers what seems, on the face of it, a bedtime story to entertain young readers. Joey has trouble getting to sleep. Although he tries some methods to bring on sleep, his imagination keeps him from becoming drowsy. That is until he meets Sir Nod, a book-loving monster living in his closet.
Sir Nod shows Joey his “magical book.” “Read it,” Sir Nod says, “ and you can travel anywhere,” then immediately falls asleep. Joey takes the book and reads a story about a pirate adventure, but is soon fast asleep, dreaming about pirates.
Joey wants to keep the book, but
Sir Nod cries that it is his only book. Nod tells Joey he can read his own
books, but Joey complains that his books aren’t magical. Sir Nod replies, “The
magic happens when you read a book.” Joey and Sir Nod settle their disagreement
about using the book and come to a mutual, and sleep-inducing, solution.
As is common with picture books published
by 4RV Publishing, the book contains an appendix with discussion questions and
extra “fun facts.” Here, Nancy Allen continued her mix of entertainment and
Diane Brown’s illustration nicely
captured Joey’s adventures on a pirate ship, traveling through space, and more.
These illustrations will trigger the imagination of young readers as well as
the story does.
This book may help a child go to sleep, but even better, it encourages children to experience the magic of books. I applaud any book that encourages children to read, whether or not it helps them sleep.
This book, Forty Winks, can be purchased from the 4RV Bookstore, as well as from other online stores and through physical book stores.