Maggie de Vries
How Sleep Found Tabitha - a Children's Book by Maggie de Vries

How Sleep Found Tabitha
A Review by Valerie Nielsen

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.

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.

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