Zeki Rise and Shine / Zeki Sleep Tight

Zeki Rise and Shine
Zeki Sleep Tight

Anna McQuinn and Ruth Hearson
Alanna Max

So much thought has gone into these two books starring the totally adorable Zeki wherein we share his family rituals. In the first Zeki has just woken up and from his cot, he greets readers with THE most engaging smile you could ever imagine as his Mummy opens the curtains to reveal the sparkling lemon-yellow sun. Then released from the confines of his cot he proceeds to dance his way into the kitchen where Daddy, preparing breakfast, joins his little one in a bit of box shaking.

With cereal consumed, it’s off to the bathroom for a wash and teeth brushing. Then on go a snazzy top and shorts, and to complete the outfit ,wonderful sunglasses and jelly shoes. Now Zeki is ready for whatever the day brings; and it’s patently clear just how much this little one is loved by his parents as they enjoy these simple routines together.

An equal amount of love and care has been taken in the creation of this simple presentation of family rituals. With each and every word having been carefully considered, the text is an absolute pleasure to read aloud: ‘He munches crunches. he sips zingy juice.’ and there’s a wealth of other onomatopoeia and alliteration too. 

Equally, Ruth Hearson’s illustrations radiate joy, while cleverly using repeat images such as the sun (hanging from Zeki’s cot and in his book); the chickens (on the window sill and in the kitchen); the crocodile (on Zeki’s bib and the rolled up mat in Mummy’s bag); the ducks (on the soles of Zeki’s shoes matching the string puppet). Sheer delight for adults and little ones at every turn of the page.

The same is true of Zeki Sleep Tight wherein the atmosphere is much gentler as Zeki slows down and prepares for bed. He sips warm milk, soaks in a bubbly bath, wriggles his creamy caressed body into a fleecy sleep suit 

and settles down for a pre-bedtime song and favourite story. Bliss.

Beautiful calming, soothing, sometimes sibilant language (‘they sing a slow song about a slumbering sloth’) and illustrations full of delightful details including plenty of sheep and other sleepy creatures. No need for parents to sing their little ones a lullaby, a quiet read aloud of this at bedtime will surely send them off to slumberland.

Both books are made from thick card and have rounded corners – ideal for little hands as well as a change from board books. I wholeheartedly recommend these for parents of very young children and for early years settings.

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