Author: Mem Fox
Illustrator: Jane Dyer
First Published: 1993
This is a particularly high quality entry in the 'bedtime' genre of children's books. With classic Fox rhyming and repetition, each page features a very good reason why a baby animal should go to sleep. The illustrations are warm and calm, and overall the book lends itself to the kind of slow, quiet pre-bedtime reading that you - the frazzled adult - need at that time of the evening.
"It's time to sleep, little bee, little bee.
Yes, I love you and you love me."
If you don't know Mem Fox, she is famous for writing stories that children love and parents are still happy to read every night for five years straight. Not only that, but as a passionate advocate for reading aloud to children, she has recorded herself reading almost all her books and has the audio files available online. I have been known to put this link on repeat for hours to keep my offspring entertained.
I have a particularly strong relationship with this book and an ulterior motive for noding about it.
You see, ever since we first bought this book, nearly nine years ago, we have had a nightly routine. The last thing we say before we switch out the lights is the last page of this book. It has become our way of saying 'goodnight', and it's really lovely:
"The stars on high are shining bright.
Sweet dreams, my darling.
We also like to say it in other languages. I only speak English and a bit of German myself, so this is tricky, but currently I can do English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Indonesian and we're working on Cantonese.
So here is my ulterior motive: if you, kind and talented noder, are a speaker of other languages, I would love for you to translate that little couplet. Send me a message and I'll add it below! Or if you have corrections for the existing languages, please tell me! I have lost the pieces of paper with spelling on them, so no doubt plenty of mistakes have crept in.
English: The stars on high are shining bright. Sweet dreams, my darling. Sleep well. Good night.
German: Die Sterne in Himmel strahlen hell. Träum Süß, mein Liebling. Schlaf gut. Gute nacht.
French: Les étoiles en haut brillent fortement. Doux rêves mon chéri. Dors bien. Bonne nuit.
Spanish: Las estrellas brillan en lo alto. Dulces sueños, mi amor. Duerme bien. Buenas noches.
Italian: Le stelle su alta sono brilla luminosa. Dolci sogni, mio caro. Dormi bene. Buona notte. DonJaime says: 'su alta', 'sono brilla', and 'luminosa' are definitely wrong. 'nel alto cielo' would be an option, 'brillono' is right, but I'm not sure how you do the bright bit in Italian. Any Italian speakers to help us out?