Score: 94+/100 (9.4+ out of 10)
With absolutely gorgeous illustrations and a lighthearted tone and message, Grandma, I Don't Want to Go to Sleep might be exactly what the doctor ordered for your little ones at sleepy time. In just 15 beautiful, colorful, heartwarming pages, this book does exactly what it needed to do to be considered among the best children's books of the year. It is beautiful, simple, entertaining, easy to follow, and accomplishes something important: letting children know that sleep is important for their health, sanity, and growth.
These illustrations by Thelma Muraida are breathtaking! They are just about perfect in their scope and proportions. The human characters look just right without falling into the uncanny valley. The backgrounds are incredibly detailed from a box full of toys to the ocean floor.
This book has a very distinct ocean theme. The main character, a cute little Black grandson, really seems to love the thought of swimming, scuba diving, and sailing in the ocean! He even has a toy sailboat and fantasizes about hanging out with whales, dolphins, fish, octopuses, manta rays, and turtles. He even tells little stories of his own to his grandma such as that it's his imaginary turtle friend's birthday.
That opens up another layer of this book: imagination. This book encourages children to be creative and use their imagination. The boy has a dreamlike imagination, saying that he dreams about playing with all sorts of sea creatures.
Another layer of this book that is very lovely to see is the close relationship and bond between the son and grandmother. The two of them are absolutely adorable. It's heartwarming. And there are implications here that might be deeper than we see on the surface. Where are the little boy's parents? Did one or both of them leave or pass away? Why is he seemingly being cared for under his grandmother's roof? These are great issues for adult readers to share with their young ones who may be wrestling with such issues as a parent being away (due to divorce or separation) or even having passed. It is important for children to see their issues being represented on paper. It helps them to make sense of their situation, understand, cope, learn, and grow.
And, of course, there the very simple and relatable issue of a child who doesn't want to go to bed at the scheduled time. Practically all parents, grandparents, and caretakers of children have experienced this, and almost all children have felt an aversion to bedtime. It's just one of those issues that's so common and so human. This book seems to show that sometimes the very things that keep us awake—like our overactive minds and imaginations—can also lull us to sleep.
It's a very beautiful, lovely, heartwarming children's book that's perfect for bed time.
Check it out on Amazon!