Too Small for my Big Bed by Amber Stewart and Layn Marlow

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Too Small for my Big Bed by Amber Stewart and Layn Marlow

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Buy Too Small for my Big Bed by Amber Stewart and Layn Marlow at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Trish Simpson-Davis
Reviewed by Trish Simpson-Davis
Summary: A sympathetic story of a very small tiger who can’t cope alone at night without his Mummy. Confidence-boosting for toddlers and an accolade to Mums everywhere.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: March 2013
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780192758408

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This book is for kids graduating from the cot to their first big bed. Even more, it’s for all those parents who didn’t anticipate that once in the bed, there’s no going back to the security of the cot ... the child can now appear in your bedroom, night after night after night. So this is the universal problem, and here is a supportive and tactful way of addressing it.

Piper the tiger cub and his Mummy are (anthropomorphically, I’m afraid) stuck in the same stage, though under the starry skies of the savannah lands of Africa rather than a duvet. Mummy handles the problem tactically, by praising Piper’s growing independence during the day. Building up the challenge in steps, just as you might with a small person, she eventually queries when she is out of eyesight:

If you keep your eyes closed, and I am quieter than the smallest cricket, asked Mummy, then how do you know I am near?
Piper thought, and waited, and sniffed the air.
I can just feel you, Mummy,' he smiled. 'I can feel you are near.

It was at this point that I fell in love with the story. Why, this is an animal world problem too – we do indeed see real animal mothers shushing their babies away. And maybe this is how tiger cubs learn the first lessons in tracking their prey by scent. The words pinpoint an obvious but overlooked truth: the infant uses all his sensory facilities in attaching to the parent. Coping with separation anxiety at bedtime involves the child using sensory clues that Mummy is still around, even when she can’t be seen – a useful staging post for under-3s still struggling to understand that out of sight doesn’t mean vanished for ever.

Mummy goes on:

I’ll never be far away … Mummies never are.

When Piper wakes up in the night: he could feel the cool night air spreading her love around him.

So here’s the simple, no-gimmicks message: a parent’s love spreads a reassuringly tangible aura round the child. Which might be the final clue your child needs to keep him in his bed and soothing himself back to sleep, just like Piper.

Layn Marlow’s illustrations are beautiful – timeless rather than contemporary, cute rather than busy, just right for winding down at bedtime. I put this lovely book on the shelf alongside Sam McBratney’s seminal Guess How Much I Love You. I’m sure in due course Piper and his Mummy will also get tucked away in the loft as an heirloom.

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

Check out our Top Ten Picture Books For Overcoming Bedtime Woes. I bought Darkness Slipped In by Ella Burfoot which swiftly nipped Being Afraid of the Dark in the bud. If you like this book, the same team published Just Like Tonight. When Dragons Are Dreaming by James Mayhew and Lindsey Gardiner is also worth a look if you like gentle stories and illustrations. Finally, there’s the granddaddy of them all, The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr.

Buy Too Small for my Big Bed by Amber Stewart and Layn Marlow at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Too Small for my Big Bed by Amber Stewart and Layn Marlow at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Too Small for my Big Bed by Amber Stewart and Layn Marlow at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Too Small for my Big Bed by Amber Stewart and Layn Marlow at Amazon.com.

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