How Many Sleeps? by Amber Stewart and Layn Marlow

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How Many Sleeps? by Amber Stewart and Layn Marlow

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jo Heffer
Reviewed by Jo Heffer
Summary: In our house I am often plagued by the cry of 'how many sleeps?' whether it be about birthdays, Christmas, holidays or any other exciting thing that we might be looking forward to. Like most small children, my daughters have a huge impatience when waiting for anything, and this same sense of anticipation is captured beautifully in 'How Many Sleeps?' by Amber Stewart and Layn Marlow. In this delightful book, a little field mouse can hardly wait for his birthday although his dad does not want it to come round too quickly as he still has an important present to make.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: April 2011
Publisher: OUP
ISBN: 978-0192780263

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At the start of this book, a little field mouse, Toast, is really looking forward to his birthday and wants to know 'how many sleeps?' There are still quite a few until the big day, in fact, as his mother tells him, there are too many to start counting! However, before long, when he asks his daily question, he is told that there are 'just enough sleeps to deliver party invitations to all your friends'. Soon after there are just enough sleeps to go and collect party decorations, then to help decorate the cake and then eventually there are only enough sleeps to wrap the party treats, put the candles on the cake and to get an extra special good night's sleep. However, at the same time, Toast's father is anxiously asking how many sleeps until his little boy's birthday, but he does not want it to come too soon as he has an extra special present to make and he is rapidly running out of time. The big question is whether he will finish it in time or will there never be enough sleeps?

I read this book with my five year old daughter and she absolutely loved it and was able to identify with Toast and the excitement that was building as his birthday approached. She was slightly nervous though that his special present might not be ready on time and couldn't wait to get to the end to find out if Toast gets it and, more importantly, what it might be. A story about a birthday is the sort that most young children will really enjoy and probably want to read many times.

Not only is it a lovely story though, but it is also beautifully written. The language that Amber Stewart uses is perfect in conjuring up lovely images. There is a description very near the start of the book where she describes Toast's anticipation that something exciting is going to happen soon:

He could smell it in the quiet morning air, in the mist still hugging the ground, in the autumn leaves trembling on the branches ready to tumble a golden blanket over the wood.

That's a beautiful description but not so abstract that children will not be able to understand what it means. All of the language used is accessible to young children and also, it is an excellent book for children who are just becoming more confident in their reading.

I also have to mention the exquisite illustrations which complement the story so well. These are by Layn Marlowe, and she depicts the relationship between Toast and his parents so well. There are lovely pictures of Toast icing the cake with his mother, reading a story together and having a wonderful party. These are just a few of the many wonderful illustrations that have a slightly misty feel to them.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

Overall, both my daughter and I loved this book and we would happily recommend it for sharing with any small child who loves birthdays. Also, if this book appeals you could also take a look at Mouse Trouble by John Yeoman.

Buy How Many Sleeps? by Amber Stewart and Layn Marlow at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy How Many Sleeps? by Amber Stewart and Layn Marlow at

Buy How Many Sleeps? by Amber Stewart and Layn Marlow at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy How Many Sleeps? by Amber Stewart and Layn Marlow at


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