Though a handful of rhymes feel forced, the verse overall creates that rare hypnotic fairy tale effect, the kind of story that lulls little ones to sleep. That might not happen with the first reading, as the Nodders, as rendered by Schmidt, are so visually interesting that the pages demand to be pored over in detail. With hints of pigs and bats in their face and body, curlicues in their ears, cute pajamas, and slippers that help them fly, the Nodders exhibit whimsy and fun on every page. Those pages are carefully considered and laid out, especially a masterful double spread of the sun setting on one page and rising on the next, blended together to show that they’re one event.
There are no shortage of “go to sleep” books for kids (and adults), and The Nodders succeeds in differentiating itself with its highly original concept —and by focusing on naps. Even so, it could easily be read as a good night book as well. These charming beings will likely work their way into kids’ hearts, and will certainly be welcome in a caregiver’s arsenal when it comes to nudging children toward sleep.
Takeaway: A picture book alive with whimsy and enchantment, The Nodders is crafted to charm little ones into napping.
Great for fans of: Il Sung Na’s A Book of Sleep, Anna Dewdney’s Llama Llama Red Pajama, Divya Srinivasan’s Little Owl’s Night.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-