Go to Sleep, Jessie!

When my three boys were younger, they all slept in the same bedroom – much to the amazement of many people we knew. Other parents would often ask if the baby woke the older boys during the night. It never happened. The baby would cry, I’d feed and change him, and the other two would sleep right through it. Of course the fun began early in the morning when the baby demanded entertainment, all from the comfort of his cot – the older boys were willing accomplices in the crack-of-dawn shenanigans.

Obviously my kids aren’t the first to share a room (and all that comes with it) with a much younger sibling, and that is the subject of Libby Gleeson’s new book, Go to Sleep, Jessie!.

It’s the story of baby Jessie and her big sister. Jessie won’t go to sleep, despite her sister’s pleads and bribes. Jessie’s parents try to settle her but nothing seems to work… Except maybe a little sisterly know-how.

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The story is delightfully simple – details such as the dad “…watching television and eating chocolate” and a picture of the iconic Tupperware ‘Shape Sorter’ toy discarded on the floor, make it comfortably familiar. Likewise, the textbook parent in me says the attempted solutions to Jessie’s sleeping problem may not be ideal choices in the long term but we’ve all had nights where ‘the path of least resistance’ is the path taken!

Go to Sleep, Jessie! is illustrated by Freya Blackwood. As always, Blackwood’s delicate and sensitive illustrations are outstanding. In this book, she restricts the colour palette to contrasting orange and blue and in doing so, creates two distinct worlds – upstairs in blue, where the children are supposed to be asleep and downstairs in bright orange, where the parents are reading the newspaper and watching television.

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This is a terrific book for children who have a new sibling as it shows both the reality and the pleasure of being the eldest child. Go to Sleep, Jessie! is suitable for children aged three years and over and is available at all good bookshops or online at Fishpond.

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Katrina Whelen

Katrina studied planning and design, did the hard yards working in a big office building and then traded it all in for a relaxing (!) life at home with four children. She now fills her time with writing, completing a degree in genetics and taxiing her children around Melbourne to their various sporting commitments (not necessarily in that order).

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