Chengdu Could Not, Would Not, Fall Asleep by Barney Saltzberg

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Chengdu Could Not, Would Not, Fall Asleep by Barney Saltzberg

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sam Tyler
Reviewed by Sam Tyler
Summary: Chengdu is a panda that cannot sleep in this well designed board book that has a message that may not suit all toddlers.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: July 2017
Publisher: Hyperion
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781484775653

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The list of entertaining things about toddlers does not include any of the following; throwing food against your recently painted walls, nappy deposits, or deciding to stay up way past their bedtime. There are few things more unsettling to a parent than a toddler used to their routine suddenly deciding to stay up way past their bedtime; they scream, they procrastinate, they blub and then finally collapse (and that is just Mum and Dad). The reason that so many children's books are about settling down and going to bed is to avoid the staying up eventuality, so will a book about an insomniac panda work?

Chengdu wants to sleep. He has tried shifting position, hanging from a branch, resting on his head, but none of these tactics seem to work, he just cannot nod off. That is until he decides to climb to the very top of the tree where he finds the most soft and yielding cushion to lie on, but will the cushion be happy to be used thus?

Chengdu Could Not, Would Not, Fall Asleep is a book for toddlers that has a got a lot to recommend about it. Just as a little board book it is wonderful. Too many of these types of books are a little dull as the author decides not to bother having a story, Saltzberg has managed to cram 32 pages into his book and although the story is simple, it is great fun. He also has fun with the format as some of the pages are not the same. To represent Chengdu's ascension up the tree, Saltzberg has cut the pages so that they get smaller and smaller. This is a simple little trick, but does make the book stand out.

The illustrations also work well. Chengdu is a cute character and has wonderfully sad eyes as he tries to get to sleep. Some of the antics he gets up to are daft and add to the entertainment. There is also a great ending to the book that is a nice surprise and genuinely funny. It will be appreciated by any adult that has been awoken by a child just because they can't sleep.

The book's only downside is the subject matter. Toddlers can be impressionable and there is a reason you read books about sleeping and not staying awake. As anyone with a toddler prone to refusing to sleep, reading a book that reinforces this behaviour is not ideal. For those parents with children who sleep at a drop of a hat, this book works brilliantly, for those with kids like mine, perhaps leave it until they are a little older and can see the book is meant to be funny and not a life lesson

Here is a panda that teaches a slightly better lesson for toddlers; Thank You, Mr Panda by Steve Antony.

Buy Chengdu Could Not, Would Not, Fall Asleep by Barney Saltzberg at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Chengdu Could Not, Would Not, Fall Asleep by Barney Saltzberg at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Chengdu Could Not, Would Not, Fall Asleep by Barney Saltzberg at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Chengdu Could Not, Would Not, Fall Asleep by Barney Saltzberg at Amazon.com.


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