Thursday, May 29, 2014

Edith Hope Fine's "Loved-to-Pieces" Books for Sleepyheads. . .

Today, The Little Crooked Cottage welcomes Edith Hope Fine, author of the brand new picture book Sleepytime Me, a bedtime book that takes readers on a journey through town and country, as each of its inhabitants settle down after the sun has splashed beautiful colors in the sky, and fireflies and crickets begin their evening dance. We were lucky enough to see an advanced copy of this little gem, because it's illustrated by our good friend (Mr. Pig creator) Christopher Denise!

This book truly enchanted us. With soothing, lyrical language and luminous, evocative art, it's a gentle ode to that magical time of day, perfect for sending little ones off to slumber with a story, a whisper and a kiss.

Interior art from Sleepytime Me (Random House Children's Books)
Copyright 2014, Christopher Denise.

After reading it, we curious cottagers wondered which bedtime books the author of a such a lovely goodnight story loved-to-pieces as a child. So we asked! And to our delight, Edith was kind enough to share. Here are five of Edith's most treasured favorites. Thanks, Edith! 

"Rolling out of bed (I’m an owl, not a bluebird) as Sleepytime Me with Christopher Denise’s brilliant (both senses of the word: genius and light-filled) art rolls out from Random House, I’m thinking of books for sleepyheads: from now-ish, from my kids’ childhoods, from when my favorite (okay, only) bro Bill and I were young, and one from the Way-Back Machine: my mom’s childhood."

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

"I can remember poring over these drawings—marveling at Robert McCloskey’s ducks as they splashed and cavorted on the pages and waiting for Michael the policeman to blow his whistle and halt the traffic so Mrs. Mallard and her eight could safely cross."
How Tom Beat Captain Najork and His Hired Sportsmen by Russell Hoban; illustrated by Quentin Blake

"What a romp, verbally—thank Russell Hoban—and visually—thank Quentin Blake. Tom is an expert at fooling around, so womble, muck, and sneedball are nothing to him. Such glorious escapades. Such characters—think Aunt Fidget Wonkham-Strong. You’ll laugh aloud."

Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton

"'Four walls, straight down. Four corners, neat and square.' Virginia Lee Burton’s rhythmic words in this and her other books still live in the brain box after all these years, undoubtedly one of the reasons I’m drawn to writing for children."

Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne with illustrations by E. H. Shepard

"I wrote a newspaper column for thirteen years and once asked readers if I stuck a mic under their noses what they could recite from memory. Shakespeare, Poe, Robert Service, Emily Dickinson . . . it was astounding. As for me, it would be bits from Pooh stories and whole poems."

The Doings of Little Bear by Frances Margaret Fox

"In this 1915 book that belonged to our mother, Little Bear has a series of adventures, the most memorable being as he searches for a warm spot where his clump of bread dough could rise and decides upon his snoring Papa’s nose. The dough rises higher and higher . . . you get the picture.

Now for some hot chocolate and a good snooze!"

Edith Hope Fine grew up in Michigan, went to Ohio Wesleyan, and now lives near San Diego. Her two sons and four grands live nearby. She likes making soup, swimming, knitting, and baking. Because she composts, her yard has the happiest worms in all North County and is a rabid recycler. Edith loves words, reading, and writing. She hates anchovies and shopping. Sleepytime Me, her seventeenth book, came out two days ago—with delicious illustrations by Christopher Denise. Edith's other award-winning titles include Under the Lemon Moon; Water, Weed, and Wait; Armando and the Blue Tarp School (a California Young Reader nominee); CryptoMania! Teleporting into Greek and Latin with the CryptoKids; two Nitty-Gritty Grammar Guides; and Cricket at the Manger. She’s working on an eBook for beginners on writing for children, a student workbook for Cryptomania! (with 300 basic roots—yay), and more picture books. Visit her online at and on Facebook and Pinterest. 

Sleepytime Me by Edith Hope Fine
Illustrated by Christopher Denise
Random House (May 27, 2014)
ISBN 978-0449810620

Splashy sunset paints the sky. Shy moon tiptoes, climbs up high . . . Daylight is fading and night is drawing in. It's time for bed. A drowsy child observes the wide world settling down, coming ever closer to home until at last there are good-night hugs and kisses for this little sleepyhead. Richly painted, evocative scenes illuminate the text, imbuing the whole with mystery and a sense of comfort and warmth, and making this a bedtime story to treasure for all time.


  1. How lovely! What a precious thing it is, to remember fondly the voice of a loved one reading at bedtime...
    Looks like a "new" classic can be added to the list!

  2. Sleepytime Me looks like the perfect bedtime read. Gorgeous! Thanks for the wonderful list, Edith! I'm looking forward to reading your book.