Arlo, the Lion Who Couldn’t Sleep

Arlo, the Lion Who Couldn’t Sleep
Catherine Rayner
Macmillan Children’s Books

Catherine Rayner has created an absolute stunner of a bedtime book in this story of Arlo the insomnia-suffering lion. He’s tried everything without success and now he’s feeling fed up and thoroughly exhausted.

But then he has an encounter with Owl

an expert at sleeping when it’s noisy and hot, and in her sing-song voice, she teaches Arlo how to wind down ready to fall fast asleep.

It works wonders and the lion feels rejuvenated after a long sleep. So much so that he bounds off to tell Owl, waking her up in so doing.

Arlo reciprocates with a sleep-inducing song for his feathered friend.

Both creatures are delighted. Their celebratory cheer in the evening however, doesn’t go unheard but perhaps the words ‘Have a good stretch from your nose to your toes. / Do a little wriggle, let your eyes gently close … As you fall into calmness, so comfy and deep / Your mind will rest and you’ll drift off to sleep’ sung as a duet will prove even more soporific where it’s needed.

Perfectly paced, the combination of a calming narrative with its in-built repetition of mindful meditative verses, and totally gorgeous, amazingly textured illustrations that take your breath away, this is sheer delight no matter how many times you read it.

I can think of no better book to share with little ones at bedtime; it’s brilliant through and through.