Although The Biggest Bed In The World is getting harder to find, if you’re after something a little more “crunchy” it’s worth hunting for.
It is all about “Ben’s Dad” who is trying to get a decent night sleep. This is a bedsharing book, and as the family increases in size, the bed needs to be bigger to fit them all in. Until Ben’s Dad gets the brilliant idea to knock out a few (load bearing) walls, and build a bed that is big enough for everyone. Which is just perfect, until… the house collapses and the bed falls out and slides down the hill.
If you’ve got a DIY’er in your household, or worse yet, a builder, they’re sure to get both heart palpitations, and a giggle, out of the renovations.
One thing I particularly like about this book is the mum, she just carries on. Ben’s Dad is having a hard time, but she’s there looking after the kids, the cats (and it’s kittens), the dog (and it’s puppies), the teddies… her family keeps on growing, and she seems to be happy with this and just potters along joyfully. It’s also subtle, but it’s a breastfeeding book, which seems to be quite rare. Mostly if a baby/toddler is to be shown feeding, it’s with a bottle, whereas in this book the babies are all being nursed (of course, you’d have to know to pick it – just like nursing in real-life, there’s no nipple showing, nor is it particularly obvious otherwise). The animals are all nursing too, which is just cute. It is not an issue that is particularly “in your face”, but it stands out for its rarity.
The illustrations are all friendly cartoon style, with just enough detail on each page to allow for basic conversations during shared reading (where’s the cat, can you find the puppy, look there’s a rubber duck, that teddy looks like yours doesn’t it). Despite the simple style, emotions are clear; the sheep sleep peacefully, the cows run panicked (chased by a runaway bed), Dad looks proud and mum looks sceptical, it all works.
There is a running gag of alliteration through the book, with each of the children named something starting with “B”:
Ben’s baby brother Billy was born.
the twins, Beth and Bart, were born
Even after the triplets, Briony, Bella and Boris, arrived
We often read this as a bedtime book, as it ends with everyone asleep (and it is certainly very bedtime focused), but it’s a book to introduce to later readers, rather than as part of an infant sleep routine. The story is just that little bit too long for infants, and lacking in the rhyming style that I found my newborn/infant seemed to enjoy. Whereas my 18 month old really loves this book now.
I won’t spoil the ending on this one… but rest assured, Ben’s Dad does find a way to get a good nights sleep.
A really cute book, with a really big and happy family.