Sleep Like A Tiger by Mary Logue and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski was awarded a 2013 Caldecott Honor on Jan 28, 2013 by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association. This is not your usual bedtime story. “Once there was a little girl who didn’t want to go to sleep even though the sun had gone away” begins the book. In the illustration, the sun goes away on the back of a crown wearing tiger. The words and the pictures tell a rich story filled with symbolism.
The little girl tells her parents she is not tired. Her parents said she did not have to go to sleep but she did have to put on her pajamas. She was still wide awake. They asked her to brush her teeth and wash her face. Though still not sleepy, she loved her bed, so she climbed in. She asked her parents, “Does everything in the world go to sleep?”. Yes, they replied. Their dog was sleeping now on the couch where he didn’t belong and the cat was fast asleep by the fire. Do bats sleep? Not at night, but during the day, folding their wings and sleeping upside down in the barn. What about whales? And tiny snail? And even grizzly bears? The little girl knows another animal that sleeps a lot, the tiger, who sleeps so he can stay strong. Her parents kiss her goodnight and she tells them that she is still not sleepy. They tell her she can stay awake all night. The girl slowly falls asleep as she copies the sleeping habits of the animals she and her parents discussed.
There has been some questions from kids about the crowns on the characters in this book. There are wheels all over every page, some of the moons have William Blake’s poem Tyger, Tyger faintly printed on them. There teacups and tea pots on many pages. This is a devise the illustrator, Pamela Zagarenski, used in her previous Caldecott Honor book, Sings Red from Treetops: A Year in Colors written by Joyce Sidman. She tells us on her website that she wants us to make up stories and reasons for ourselves about her imagery to discover a secret key within us that unlocks a mysterious door. Whether or not you are looking to unlock any mysterious doors, this book has lyrical prose and beautiful illustrations. That is enough for me.
The Sonoma County Library has several copies.