Review: Arlo The Lion Who Couldn't Sleep

BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations

This week marks the publication of Arlo The Lion Who Couldn't Sleep (available here) - award-winning picture book creator Catherine Rayner's gentle new story exploring how a friendly lion learns to deal with restless nights. Read on for our review of Arlo The Lion Who Couldn't Sleep.

Book Title: Arlo The Lion Who Couldn't Sleep (available here)

Author/illustrator: Catherine Rayner

Publisher: Macmillan

Publication Date: August 2020

Most Suitable For: EYFS & KS1


Many of us can relate to the frustration of a sleepness night - especially after this past week of too hot, too stormy or too rainy bedtimes! Arlo the lion is no exception; he is struggling to sleep and feeling helpless at being all out of ideas for what to try next.

Arlo meets Owl, who offers a different perspective. He learns that Owl can sleep through the day - even through the sights and sounds of all the other animals being awake. Fortunately for Arlo, Owl has some sleep-inducing tricks of her own that might just help Arlo too. Owl teaches Arlo a bedtime song, which focuses on thoughts of happy places, a relaxation of the body, a slowing down of breathing patterns and meditation about sinking into the soft ground. The song works a treat, but in his excitement over his new found success, Arlo accidentally wakes other animals up! Happily though, they can use the song too to settle back to sleep.

Parents may like to encourage small children to give Owl's song a try - or at least one or two elements of the toolbox of strategies it incorporates. The story meets young listeners in the frustrating experience of sleeplessness and moves them gently onwards by empowering little ones with mindfulness techniques tools to try for themselves.

This is a beautifully illustrated tale with a soft, dusk-like palette that blends Arlo's gentle yellows and browns into the tranquil landscapes of wide, evening skies - almost as if the pictures themselves are willing Arlo to let go and settle into sleep. In fact, the whole story, with it's gentle pacing and dreamy repetition, is a perfectly pitched winding-down story for busy children at bedtime.


You can You can order Arlo The Lion Who Couldn't Sleep online or from your local bookshop.

Many thanks to the publishers at Macmillan for sending us a review copy.

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Where next? > Visit our Reading for Pleasure Hub

> Browse our Topic Booklists

> View our printable year group booklists.

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