Animals are Sleeping

School Library Journal - June 2008

While many picture books feature animals sleeping, either individually or in mother/child pairings, this title takes the concept a step further. Not only are the creatures shown in their natural habitats, but they are also depicted in their natural poses. The sloth is upside down, the giraffe is gently resting its head on a high tree branch, and the clown fish are tucked in between the gently swaying seaweed. The calming and peaceful text winds down to a “good night, sleep tight” conclusion with a little boy tucked into bed, his cat asleep at his side. The lush full-color illustrations continue the soothing effect of the text, casting shadows and layers without being too dark or too heavily drawn. Two concluding spreads suggest animal sorting cards and activities, including fill-in-the-blank types of questions that give just enough factual and interesting information to keep young minds engaged either in a classroom, during a pajama storytime, or at home on a caregiver’s lap –Lisa Gangemi Kropp, Middle Country Public Library, Centereach, NY

SMS Book Reviews - Nov 11, 2008

Stars: *****
I reviewed an e-book version of this picture book for the publisher. First you should know that Arbordale Publishing's motto is Science and Math Through Literature. After every story is quite a few pages of something called For Creative Minds which contains all sorts of fun and educational info and activities for further learning.

The For Creative Minds section of this book contains: and activity where you match the animal to the sentence about their sleeping habits. Also by going to the website you can find related websites and teaching activities for this book (and the others,) including quizzes. There is also an author interview, book flyer a place to read more reviews.

The story itself is beautiful with some rhyming text. We learn that some animals sleep upside down, or in a burrow, or on the snow or perched in a tree. At the end is a picture of a human sleeping in a cozy bed. It's the perfect bedtime story.

As you can see from the pictures at left and right, the illustrations are amazing. In fact the illustrations in all the books by Arbordale Publishing look amazing! I will be looking to buy this book for my children as it's too good to pass up.

Chronicles of an Infant Bibliophile - October 2010

The illustrations in Animals Are Sleeping are gorgeous.  As the name suggests, they show various animals asleep in their habitats. The images manage to be rich and colorful and sleep-inducing at the same time.  The text is simple, with only a brief fragment of a sentence per page (the common refrain is "Shhh . . . shhh . . . the animals are sleeping").  It has become part of our bedtime books pile many nights this week.  The Bibliophile is highly amused by the phrase "catnap" on one of the pages, and overall is pleased with the whole book.  Highly recommend.  Like all Arbordale Publishing books, there is an educational section in the back - which is also printable from their website; it contains a sleeping animal matching activity, in which readers guess which animal goes with different factual paragraphs below.  We haven't tried it (since we keep reading it at bedtime), but it looks fun. -Lynn

Armchair Interviews - March 2008

Arbordale publishes the best in fun and educational children’s books, and Animals are Sleeping is no exception.

Any child who is approaching bedtime will love the lovely Animals are Sleeping. The text is low key and informative. The illustrations that accompany the text add so much to the story. The brief text entertains but also teaches the habits of individual animals that fly in the air, or live in water and on land.

The educational part of Animals are Sleeping includes animal sorting cards and various activities that will intrigue children and keep them coming back for more.

The illustrations by Gary R. Phillips are stunning! They are, without a doubt, some of the most beautiful pictures I’ve ever seen in a children’s book. The colors are bright, beautiful, yet soothing and are oh so inviting. They absolutely beg the reader to stroke the pages and are so well done, they could be framed.

Armchair Interviews says: Animals are Sleeping should be in every child’s library. It is brilliant!

- Andrea Sisco

The Reading Tub - Nov 2008

Summary: This is a picture book with gorgeous illustrations of a variety of animals sleeping in their natural habitats. You'll learn about animals that sleep standing up, upside down, underwater, and more. This rhyming picture book shows all types of animals and where they sleep.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, playtime reading, read aloud book, learning to read
Recommended Age: read together: 2 to 6; read yourself: 6 to 8
Interest Level: 3 to 8
Reading Level: 1.6
Age of Child: Read with 3-year-old boy.
Little Kid Reaction: My son was stimulated by identifying familiar animals and new animals alike. He would often add additional details about the scene or environment.
Big Kid Reaction: I liked this book. I thought the pictures were gorgeous - almost frame-able.
Pros: Gorgeous pictures and wonderful depictions of animals make this a sweet book to read just before bed.
Cons: There weren't enough words. I had to explain or discuss the pictures to fill out the story.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a great bedtime story, but it also has great value in teaching kids about nature.
Educational Themes: In addition to being a bedtime story, kids will learn about habitat and behavioral differences among animals. There is a fill-in-the-blank section at the end that provides both a review of the animals and supplemental biology facts. These are geared toward older kids, maybe 4 to 6.

CLCD - March 2008

A poetic, sing-song text flows throughout the pages of this tantalizing book. With a flip of the page, it is clear to see how several animals, including the flamingo, sloth, groundhog,  polar bear, clownfish, lizard, seal, koala, and elephant sleep in their own habitat. Listeners will learn that some animals sleep while standing, hanging, floating, perching, and curling up and also that some sleep quickly and some sleep during the night while others sleep during the day. In the end, a special animal, the human child with whom the listener can identify, sleeps peacefully in bed with his kitten. A pleasant, repetitive “Shh…shh…” plays to the interest of the listeners at different times in the text and makes this a perfect bedtime story. By the time the reader utters the ending words, “Good night, sleep tight,” a listening child may already be doing so. Soft-edged illustrations are rendered in sleepy-time pastel colors. They enrich the beautiful text. Language arts, math, geography, and science are covered in sorting activities at the end of the book. BIBLIO: 2008, Arbordale, Ages 2 to 6, $16.95. -Nancy Attebury

Book Buds - May 2008

This short but sweet bedtime book sneaks in some lessons about animal habitats, showing polar bears, sloths, fish and other critters catching some zzzz's. Slade's simple verses aim for the preschool crowd with plenty of repetition and easy-breezy rhymes, and Phillips' lush illustrations almost glow, with touches of day-glo colors shimmering out amid the somnolent dark blues and greens.

The book's been vetted by a zoologist for accuracy, so there's no anthropomorphism or cutesy antics. The animals are shown as they would be in the wild. What I like is how it confers instant genius status on the reader, making you a hero to your kids, who have know way of knowing that you'd never seen a sloth sleeping, either.

The "For Creative Minds" exercises in the back reinforce lessons on what the pictured animals eat and where they sleep. But it's also fine for reading just before you tuck your human cub under the blankies too. -Anne Boles Levy - March 2008

Authors and artists like to debate what matters most to a picture book, the story or the pictures. Most of us know it isn’t that simple. The most successful picture books—meaning, the most well loved and most often read ones—have both. The story and the pictures work together. It is rare to find a perfect mix of words and colors. Suzanne Slade’s Animals Are Sleeping is perfection.

The story is simple and in a picture book, simple is best. Slade’s language is quiet, soothing, and rhythmic. She’s captured “going to sleep” perfectly in rhyme, and it works.

Gary R. Phillips’ pictures are astonishingly beautiful. Shades of dusk-falling blue and pink spill over the animal kingdom, putting them all to sleep in their appropriate nooks and crannies. They are positively dreamy—artistically and technically. They make me want to shut my eyes and dream of beautiful places. There’s a fuzzy essence to them that makes you feel a little swishy and dreamy!

The back matter offers details about where and how animals sleep. The information is appropriate to the subject and the age group. I donate a lot of review books to my local library. I’ve yet to donate a Arbordale book and I’m not going to start with Animals Are Sleeping. It’s a keeper. -Susan Harkins - May 2008

In the chaos of the days or in the still of the nights, animals sleep in many ways, often with little fright. Young children can’t help but think that animals sleep in much the same way they do—in a nice bed, lying down, on their backs or tummies, and in rooms. They might think animals sleep in a nest, cave, or barn, therefore Suzanne Slade’s simple book, Animals are Sleeping, serves as an excellent introduction to a new topic on animal behavior.

Where do fish sleep? What about groundhogs or marmots? Certainly polar bears curl up in caves. Where do lions take catnaps? Who sleeps standing on the ground, floating in water, and perched in trees, curled up on snow or on one leg? Who might sleep curled up next to a slumbering young child?

These answers and more flow out of this beautiful book told in a lyrical text. The “shhh…shhh…” repeats throughout and it will get the attention of listeners. The content is more factual than cute (although it is charming), and essentially free of anthropomorphizing. Illustrator Gary Phillips’ introduces natural settings with double-page illustrations. He takes us underground, to the arctic, to the Oregon coast, and into nests to help the author tell her story about animal sleeping habits.

It’s my thought that two, three and some four year olds will enjoy this, especially the conclusion, and will ask for repetitions. Daycare and early childhood providers will find this valuable for naptimes. I think this would be a special way to prepare for naps but the publishers also consider this helpful for introducing animal behavior.

There is More Arbordale Publishing always takes readers beyond the pages with their enrichment extensions and activities. This book concludes not with the last pages of the story, but with four pages of ”Creative Minds” activities. These include animal sorting cards and thinking activities. Did you know that one of the animals in the story actually hangs upside down and sleeps 15 to 18 hours during a day? Nothing wakes it, not even a thunderstorm. This content provides some information about each of the book’s napping animals.

Beyond the pages of this picture book Teachers and parents will benefit from the teaching activities and learning links. Teaching activities cover language arts, science, math, and geography and these are developed for early childhood, kindergarten, and possibly first grade. I’m always impressed by the detail that the publishers go to for this resource. Topics include the sleeping animals in this book--all are appropriate for children and helpful for teachers. The publisher relies upon associations, zoos, and research centers. Want more information about lions? Go to

Over the past few years I’ve realized that Arbordale books are reliable sources for quality education as well as valuable books. I share mine with children visiting the museum I oversee knowing they love them; however, the teachers using them are even more excited by the resources associated with the books. If I introduce these at a teacher training workshop, they always want to know more and become eager to use the online resources. With these books you always go beyond the story and they almost always get my highest recommendations. -Patsy Side

Art of Creativity - June 2008

This quiet, lovely book by author Suzanne Slade is all the richer for its simple style and prose. The reader immediately relaxes with the first words, “Shhh…shhh…” Each page or double-page spread has a different animal showing how it sleeps. It also becomes a guessing game as the animals are not named in the text, yet there are sorting cards in the back to copy and match to each animal, naming them in turn.

The illustrations by artist Gary R. Phillips have soft muted nighttime colors with a sculptural effect creating just the right tone for the sleeping animals. It makes you wish you could pick up each animal to cuddle. Because of the simplified text, this book would make an excellent early reader, so that reading and writing time can be based on this book as part of a larger unit on animal behavior. This exquisite book is highly recommended for ages 2 – 7. -Judith Nasse

Baton Rouge Advocate - June 2008

With minimal text and colorful, detailed illustrations, this book shows youngsters how all sorts of animal sleep, from flamingos who sleep standing up to fish who rest far down in the sea. Used as a bedtime story, this might just be the thing to get the young ones to drift off to sleep themselves. Animal sorting cards and activities are found in the back of the book.

A Patchwork of Books - March 2008

After reading this adorable book, I have added a new favorite bedtime story to my list!

Animals Are Sleeping by Suzanne Slade and illustrated by Gary Phillips is great for putting children down for naps or bedtime and perfect just for a simple story time as well. Not only a soothing, "sleepy time" book, but also a great educational tool, teaching kids about animals and their sleeping habits. Each page exhibits a new animal, sleeping of course, illustrated beautifully with soft colors in calming, flowing strokes. The reader can use a whisper voice in order to ready the child to sleep, getting quieter with each "shh, shh."

The last few pages of the book explain what each pictured animal is, as well as a fact fill-in to use as the children learn more about the animals of the story. You can start by reading this book to infants, as I certainly plan to do, and because of the educational factors, the story can grow with the child. This has definitely become a favorite in my house and I know I won't be able to keep it on the shelves at the library either.