Reviews /

All the Animals Were Sleeping

Authored by Clare Helen Walsh
Illustrated by Jenny Løvlie
Published by Nosy Crow Ltd

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As night falls on the plains of the Serengeti, a little mongoose makes his way home to his burrow.

This stunning picture book tells the story of the journey of the little mongoose through the dry and grassy plains, just as all the other animals are sleeping. Each animal sleeps in a different way. For example, the giraffes rest on their long legs, the zebras stand in the long grasses, whilst the elephants settle in the sand. Finally, the little mongoose himself finds his burrow and settles down on a bed of his brothers and sisters to sleep.

This is a lovely calming book which explores the animals and the different habitats within the Serengeti at twilight, as they prepare to sleep. This is not the usual way that these animals are seen so gives a really different perspective to the usual wildlife films of Africa. The author uses delightful poetic descriptions for the animals, such as when describing the storks ‘A secret world of eggs and wings silent and out of reach.’ This use of language and patterns in the text such as the little mongoose clambering under, under, under or scrambling past, past, past, as well the repeated refrain at the end of the double page ‘All the animals were sleeping’ make this a lovely book to read aloud to a class or at home. The book also comes with a QR code for a free audio reading in the front if children want to access this independently. The words combine with the beautiful illustrations to create the effect of dusk and night-time for the animals.

This would be an ideal book to share as part of an early years or KS1 topic on Africa or to read aloud. At the end of the book, it also includes some information about the animals which children will enjoy. I would also use it with older children when developing descriptive language and have a copy in the library to support habitats and any topic involving Africa.