#127 – Seriously, Just Go to Sleep by Adam Mansbach

A to Z Challenge Day 19: S
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 3.5 Stars

Seriously, Just Go to Sleep, is the children’s version of the indie hit with almost the same title.  Adam Mansbach and Ricardo Cortes (author, illustrator) have toned down the original text for little eyes and ears, and have removed every F-word from the text. The result is a G-rated picture book for children about their bedtime antics.

............The cats nestle close to their kittens,
............The lambs have lain down with the sheep.
............You’re cozy and warm in your bed, my dear.
............Please, just this once, go to sleep.

Each spread has a similar 4-sentence verse, on a background illustrating different children doing anything but sleeping. The illustrations are all beautiful scenes of  children at different stages of development.  There is the young child, presumably two-years-old, asleep on his stomach with two adorable cats—a mother and her kitten—and a baby lamb.  Further in, is a child of maybe four, para-sailing into the scene, and another, my favorite, has a group  of children gathered in a meadow playing numerous instruments.

I never read the original version for adults.  I will admit, I do not like the offensive word that was the real star of the book.  I understand the frustration of a getting an infant to sleep, or even more challenging, getting a toddler to bed, in bed, asleep.  It can be nearly impossible at times.

Throughout this updated version of Go the F***to Sleep the rhyming verses remain.  Because of changing only the fourth line, without checking its pattern, the verses are often chunky and clunky.

.......... The Flowers doze low in the meadows 
.......... And high on the mountains so steep.
......... My life is absurd.   This is taking forever.
.......... Stop messing with me, please, and sleep.

The illustrations are active.  For a book trying to get kids to settle down and sleep, the illustrations are saying the opposite.  They want you to go out and play.  One child is leap-frogging, another para-sailing, and a whole lot are jamming under the mountains.   At first glace the spreads look the same in both books, but look again.  A flower here, a whale tail there, throw on a blanket, and enough changes to make a game out of it, if you own both or download the viral version of the first book.

The illustrations do hold a surprise.  In the original adult version, many celebrities did audio readings.  One of those celebrities is Samuel L. Jackson, whose reading became extremely popular.  In this updated version of Seriously, Just Go to Sleep, one spread was changed almost completely to accommodate Mr. Jackson; not his wishes, but an appearance in the book.  I did not recognize him until I read about the illustration, while researching the original version.

Seriously, Just Go to Sleep wants to be taken seriously as a children’s book.  The profanity is gone, the illustrations updated, and a few nice surprises occur, but the “story” suddenly stops—still no kid in bed.  I do not see this working as a bedtime story.  The line wafting around the Internet is, “the author is letting children in on the joke.”  I would rather stick to traditional joke books and children’s websites.  Seriously, Just Go to Sleep should have stayed where it started—on Facebook.

To comment, scroll to the top of the review, click on “comment” on left, under the date.

Seriously, Just Go to Sleep

Author:  Adam Mansbach   website
Illustrator:  Ricardo Cortes   website
Publisher:  Akashic Books   website
Release Date: April 10, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-61775-078-6
Number of Pages: 32
Ages: 1+


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A to Z Challenge Day 19: S

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