While You’re Sleeping
Mick Jackson and John Broadley
Interestingly this collaboration brings together Booker Prize shortlisted author Mick Jackson and illustrator John Broadley, both well known for their books for adults, in a first book for a child audience; and what a superb enterprise it is.
Herein children will discover that during the time they spend sleeping, a myriad of humans are wide awake actively engaged in their world. So too are countless creatures be they owls on the hunt, foraging foxes, bats or hungry hares searching for food.
Imagine what it would be like if those cleaners hadn’t been busy on the buses and trains people take to work and school, while others clean the offices, shops and streets.
Then there are lorry drivers delivering their loads of food and other goods; post-office workers busy sorting all the mail; bakers cooking;
firefighters ready to answer emergency calls; those twenty-four hour shops and cafes; dedicated hospital staff on night duty; and ships with their crews under starry skies.
There’s a reminder that elsewhere in the world, while some children slumber, others will be in their classrooms or perhaps doing sporting activities and when their day is over, the sleepers wlll awake.
Speaking directly to young listeners/readers in a friendly tone, the narrative is a wonderful read aloud be it at bedtime or during the day. While with echoes of Eric Ravilious, John Broadley’s incredibly detailed illustrations are truly beautiful works of art (I’d love any of them as an original print on my walls.)
To open this book is like opening a gorgeous box full of jewels – each page is stunning – so too are the endpapers, the cover: the entire production in fact and to read it is like being shown around a gallery by a wise, gently spoken curator eager to open our eyes to how the world works.