SLEEPYHEADS is here! May 6, 2014 06:00
It's finally here! I am very excited to announce the official release of my latest book, Sleepyheads, a picture book I illustrated by debut author Sandra J. Howatt and published by Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster. I first received the wonderful manuscript for Sleepyheads back in June 2011. Sandra was writing and submitting it to publishers way before I even saw it so this has been a project years in the making. Originally, I was a little nervous about this book as I had decided to create the art in a style and medium that is different from a lot of my previous work. When I first read Sandra's rhythmic, rhyming text, I envisioned pictures that were soft and dreamy which I felt would be best achieved with a good old fashioned pencil and paper. I proceeded to create a world that was warm, inviting and cozy with characters that were round and cuddly. I wanted this to be a book that you just want to hug and I believe I succeeded. The book has been getting positive buzz everywhere including a starred review from Kirkus (and they are tough)!
Here's a sneak peak:
“Sleepyhead readers explore a hushed woodland at dusk, where they discover animals nestled in their cozy places at bedtime. Yawning little listeners will fall immediately and effortlessly into the rhetorical rhythms of this surefire good-night book. Gentle narration, soft exclamations and soothing “s” sounds surface again and again, streaming together sweetly. The earthy, mellow artwork, with its dusky greens and browns and thick linework, comforts too. . . . A superb execution of soporific shapes and sounds perfect for the bedside table.” — Kirkus Reviews, April 2014, *STARRED REVIEW
“Through rhyming text and cozy illustrations, readers are brought around the property of a farm and into a house at night to seek out all the sleepyheads. . . warm and inviting. A glowing crescent moon is visible with every page turn, and all the sleepyheads are endearing and cuddly. This book will make an excellent addition, especially where pajama storytime is popular.” — School Library Journal, April 2014
“Howatt debuts with a bedtime story that, true to its theme, is quiet and somnolent in tone…. The repetitive structure of Howatt’s sturdy rhymed couplets is soothing…. [Wan] portrays the animals in soft, rounded shapes to create an inviting and secure atmosphere.” — Publishers Weekly, March 2014
“As the rhythmic, rhyming text flows on, small children will enjoy naming the plump little animals depicted throughout the book…the repetitive sounds of the text and the dimly lit, rounded forms of sleeping animals have their own soothing, soporific effect. Good bedtime reading for young children.” — Booklist, May 2014
Hardcover and e-book editions with audio recording are available:
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1iEXWmD
A teacher's guide for Sleepyheads is also available for download. The teacher's guide is designed for students in kindergarten through second grade and it offers activities to help teachers integrate Sleepyheads into English language arts (ELA), mathematics, science, and social studies curricula.
I also want to take a moment to thank you wholeheartedly for all your notes of love, sympathy and support I have received during our time of loss. It's been a really tough few weeks, but being able to create and share my art with you has given me so much to be grateful for and look forward to. I hope you and your little one enjoy the book as much as I enjoyed creating it for you! SWEET DREAMS!