This Bedtime Alphabet was originally published by Planeta Tangerina, a Portuguese publishing house whose aim is to produce books where text and image combine to create a unique outcome. This idea of harmony and balance through interconnection resonates throughout this picturebook. Each letter of the alphabet is represented by a different mediation on the idea of sleep – and how it might be achieved.
The book’s palette is composed of strong primary colours – yellows, reds, blues, and striking blacks. The images – comprising of child figures, birds, bears, seascapes, and brain maps – are uniform only in their ability to draw the reader into the world of the story.
The translation is subtle and fluid, losing none of the playfulness and abstract nature of the original. The dynamic relationship between text and image is beautifully maintained throughout the book, inviting multiple re-readings. A prose poem on the nature of sleep, brain function, and childhood routines, the rhythm of the text moves towards a gentle and satisfying conclusion.
This is a sophisticated and engaging picturebook, with a unique vision and a wonderfully eccentric sense of narrative that will appeal to children and parents alike. This reviewer was not asleep by the end of the story – and was delighted to find herself reading it again!