Monday, October 24, 2011

Marvelous Picture Book: The Sea of Sleep by Warren Hanson and illustrations by Jim LeMarche

This picture book follows a mama otter and her child floating through a sea, The Sea of Sleep. It begins with the otters returning to the sea after a long day and shows the progression of the bedtime process. The illustrations and words foster a safe environment for the otters as a technique to project these feelings onto a child at bedtime. Bedtime can be a very stressful as well an anxiety filled process for a child. A resource such as this book creates a calming environment wherein the child can relax. This book is not only great at bedtime though, through the illustrations and focus on a safe environment it can be used simply as a calming book. Jim LeMarche conveys comfort and the process of falling asleep through the watercolor illustrations, portrayal of the otters falling asleep, as well as the interactions with nature. The color palette of the whole book follows what would be expected of the sea, light blues and calming purples. The whimsical brushstrokes enhance these effects by creating movement of the water. The book repeats the same paragraph three times within the book, accompanied by illustrations of the baby otter growing more tired.

Drifting. Floating. Lightly gliding

On the Sea of Sleep tonight.

Rocking. Swaying. Slowly sailing

On toward the morning light.

The repetition not only brings familiarity, but also sets the tone for sleep. It visually portrays another child (even if it is an animal) growing sleepy along with the child. The pictures also represent a safe and loving home through the otter’s home within the sea. The two otters float by dolphins, the moon, and families of fish all of whom make up their home.

This is a great read for children who do have a hard time calming down. Joy initially bought this book as a gift for someone she nannies for. She loved the story and thought it would be a good tool for nighttime. Without fail this book has proved her correct. Results have been seen first hand and this book is strongly recommended not only because of its story, but more importantly the marvelous illustrations.

Here is a link to watch Deirdre read this book.

enjoy! <3 Joy and Deirdre

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