Is there a new way of getting your little ones to sleep?

Ellen the Elephant goes on a journey through the magical forest that leads her to go to sleep. On the way, she meets lots of creatures who help her relax and feel calm before bedtime.

The idea behind this book fascinated me! Could it really help a child feel sleepy? Would it really make bedtimes run more smoothly?I couldn't wait to find out!

The illustrations are delightful; Ellen is very sweet and appealing. Each picture is uncluttered yet offers hidden details to discover like yawning leaves and a sleepy moon. The colours used are calm, setting the tone for the story and not over-stimulating the reader before sleep.

Not having a little one any more, I asked some friends to try The Little Elephant Who Wants to Fall Asleep with their children.

As part of a bedtime routine, the story was a real success as the calm nature and sleep focus of the book set the tone for bedtime. Some people only read the beginning, a section and the ending which they found worked well- Snoozy Mole was a particular favourite!

The tips from the author and success factors notes were also found to be useful by some, offering advice on how to deliver the story and creating routines.

However, it was not to everyone's taste and some found it overly long. The language used didn't appeal to all those who tried it, but the illustrations were a hit with everyone!

So does the story work? Generally, the conclusion seems to be that anything forming part of a calming, soothing routine as part of a 'bedtime ritual' is helpful. The story is designed to encouage sleep related behaviour- yawning, feeling dozy, snuggling down- making it perfect for this time of day.

The Little Elephant Who Wants to Fall Asleep by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin,

illustrated by Sydney Hanson

Ladybird   ISBN: 978-0241291207