Maybe you’ve heard of it, it’s all over the major parenting news sites. Maybe you’ve trolled the over 40 pages of reviews on Amazon, mostly for a good laugh. Maybe you haven’t heard of it yet, but after reading this, you’ll go read the reviews (because seriously, great material for chuckles).
It’s The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep. A self-published book written by a psychologist in Sweden and translated into English.
It claims to make anyone fall asleep. And for a mere $12, I figured that it wouldn’t hurt. Our bedtime routine this summer had creeped up to 2+ hours, and I was seriously at my wits end. Potamus just hates going to sleep.
The plot in a nutshell, is that Roger the Rabbit is sleepy but has a hard time falling asleep. So he goes to a Wizard named Uncle Yawn, and along the way meets a few characters who give him some helpful advice. Readers are asked to emphasize the bolded sentences, and speak slowly and softly in the italicized portions, and “use your best fairytale voice.” If you can get beyond some of the strange tense changes, lots of words on each page, and home drawn pictures, to the heart of the story, then this book is great.
We were on vacation the first two nights that we started reading it. Night 1, Potamus had about 6,785 questions about the plot. “Why is Roger a rabbit? Why can’t he sleep? Where is his Daddy? Why is Uncle Yawn a person and not a rabbit?” I thought I was going to punch something. The book takes at least 25 minutes to read, so with his gazillion questions, I thought surely we were in for a long haul night (given that it was a new place).
Five minutes after the book ended?
Out like a light.
He simply turned over on his side and fell asleep.
I mean, seriously. It was magical to not have to sing 5 songs, rub his back for 30 minutes, get another glass of water, another snack, another song. Asleep.
We’ve been reading the book every night since. About 10 days in total. He asks for it at night, after his other 2-3 stories. Some nights (especially when Boof reads it in his deep man-voice) he falls asleep after a few pages. Sometimes he muscles through to the very end, but is out after 5-10 minutes of lying quietly in bed next to me. The cadence of reading, the repetition and the use of relaxation and hypnosis/guided meditation techniques, seem to help him calm his mind and body.
I’d recommend it. It’s not perfect, like anything. As an English major I have serious issue with some of the poor sentence construction, and lack of editing. But for us, it has been a very helpful tool in creating a bedtime ritual that is actually soothing for him. While bedtimes are not a snap, the fact that he’s asleep within 35-40 minutes from when we start the the process, certainly feels like magic! I’d say give it at least 3-4 times of reading it before throwing in the towel (unless the kid is older and adamantly refuses to listen to it, of course! You know your kid best!)
P.S. Every time I read the story, Boof falls asleep. Even when he tries to distract himself with his smart phone. I start reading and he starts snoring. I tell him that means he’s chronically sleep deprived…but he disagrees. Ha!