Jessie stands and pulls at the rails of her cot, staring at the bedroom door and crying. She will not go to sleep. Big sister, herself not more than 8 years old, shares a bedroom with Jessie and is finding it more than a little noisy! The tension escalates as, no matter what, Jessie will not stop wailing. Dad tries taking Jessie out for a drive, Mum tries changing her nappy, big sister plays music and gives her T-Bear – but still the crying continues.

This story is slightly different in that it reverses the usual “bedtime shenanigans” and tells it from the point of view of the baby and big sister. Mum and Dad offer support in the background while big sister and Jessie are the focus. This is the genius of this simple picture book. Every young child who has a baby in the house or has been with a crying baby, has a little empathy for the crying brother or sister and wants to help get the baby to sleep. It is lovely to see the sibling interaction in a story. Putting Jessie’s sister in the same bedroom encourages the reader to join in the journey of trying to get a baby to sleep. Read aloud in library sessions, kids love imitating the wail of a baby!

Freya’s emotive illustrations done in watercolor, gouache and coloured pencil are brilliant and masterly. Read on to discover the solution to the bedtime blues. In the final scene the illustrator has done an excellent job of capturing on paper the precise expression of a peaceful, contented baby.

A former children’s librarian, Jane Fagan is a full-time wife and mother of two.