Sleep Like a Tiger by Mary Logue and Illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski is the last Caldecott Honor book we need to review. I can honestly tell you that the pictures in this book match the style and mood of the writing so perfectly. The illustrations are beautiful, and I think Zagarenski earned that Caldecott Honor.
Mary Logue is also a poet. She has written a couple poetry books, and you can see her poetry like style throughout this book. She uses wonderful descriptive words to illustrate the story. The pictures Zagarenski did truly enhance the story that much more.
I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars. I thought the writing was very poetic, and the illustrations were gorgeous. I didn't think the story was all that original. It is not one of the stories that I am going to remember and reference b/c it doesn't stick out in my mind. That is the main reason for the loss of one star.
However, this story could be used in writing lessons, and I think a creative teacher or librarian could use this for all elementary grades depending on what you want to teach. With the poetic writing, Voice or Word Choice is an obvious idea. This could also be used for Ideas b/c the author writes about something very universal, a child not wanting to go to bed. I really think an elementary art teacher could enjoy using the depth and details of the illustrations in a lesson.
Amazon gave a basic book description, but I like the review from School Library Journal:
"The common theme of a child not ready for bed receives fresh treatment here. When a young girl repeatedly declares that she is not sleepy, her parents remain calm. She dutifully dresses in pajamas and washes up. After climbing into bed, she again proclaims that she is wide awake and questions her parents about how things in the world go to sleep. They patiently respond by describing the sleeping habits of familiar animals. After they kiss her goodnight and turn out the light, the child incorporates her parents' descriptions of the various animals into her nighttime routine. Like the strong tiger, she, too, falls fast asleep. The narrative flows well as the mood becomes increasingly tranquil. There is much dialogue in the first portion of the story. These conversations between daughter and parents are realistic. Young listeners will identify with the child's desire to remain awake. Zagarenski's stylized artwork shines with interesting details. For instance, the family is portrayed as royalty. The artist's distinctive spreads are a combination of digitally created art and mixed-media paintings on wood. The artist incorporates many patterns into the characters' clothing, rooms, blankets, and pillows. Her attention to detail can be found again on the endpapers where primitive circus like train cars, a tiger riding proudly atop one of them, appear in sunlight and later in moonlight. The dust jacket depicting the sleeping youngster curled up beside a dozing tiger ushers in the gentle and calm mood of this memorable picture book.-Lynn Vanca, Freelance Librarian, Akron, OHα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted."
School Library Journal states this book is for Preschool to First grade. I would say for a read aloud just on the story that those grades are appropriate. However, a first grader might have a hard time with some of the words. I do think that a teacher or librarian could use this book for a lesson and have much older grades enjoy it well enough.
Out of all of the Caldecott books my toddler loves this book the most, but I think that is mostly due to the beautiful and detailed pictures. Plus, she loves all of the different animals throughout the story.