For parents, it may be the closest thing on Earth to a dance with the Devil — getting your child to go to sleep. Beleaguered mothers and fathers, whose struggles with putting their children to bed ultimately affect their own sleep patterns, must embark on what may well be a millennia-old quest to find ways to quiet their children. But now, a book just may do the trick.
No, the book doesn’t emit any magical gasses or come with a vial of sleeping potion. Rather, “The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep” depends upon a “specific language pattern based on psychological techniques that will help your child to relax and fall asleep.”
Swedish author Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin is a man of many talents — not only did he pen this Amazon top-20 bestseller, but he also works as a life coach and professor of communications, and his varied background seems to have played a significant role in the success (both critically and anecdotally) of his children’s book.
The book, which is about a rabbit named Roger, follows the protagonist’s struggles as he himself attempts to go to sleep. The narrative is inundated with words and phrases that are bolded, indicating that the reader should emphasize them in his or her reading. For example, one line reads, “The rabbit began feeling even more tired when he thought about all the games he would play and how tired that would make him now.”
The reader is also asked to insert his or her child’s name into the text, directly addressing the little rascal who needs to go to bed. To that end, there are lines like, “Relax your legs, [name]. Roger and you do so, now.” And as the cherry on top, parents are encouraged to yawn at certain points of the story, which often has the same effect on the listener. By way of various hypnotic techniques, Johan claims that the book helps children (and adults) “consciously and unconsciously” reach a state of relaxation, leading to sleep.
45 percent of reviewers on Amazon have given the book five stars, and overall, “The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep” has garnered a rating of 3.4 out of five stars based on nearly 900 reviews. One reviewer noted, “Our 9-month-old daughter has been wild at bedtime, and we’ve tried so many methods of calming her, but this has been the first thing to get her into sleep mode in under 20 minutes. It feels almost like a guided meditation, and the story is so lovely that it’s a true pleasure to read aloud. Definitely a new favorite!”
Another writes, “Wow – I just bought this and it works like a charm. My two-year-old daughter always fights sleep. It normally takes 1 -2 hours & she was out cold within minutes. This will definitely be a regular part of our bed time routine.”
Of course, some others haven’t been as lucky with the book, with critics noting the length of the book and the “uninteresting” subject matter. “My grandson (and myself) were completely bored by this book,” wrote a one-star reviewer. “While I understand the intent is to be bored and fall asleep with all the cues, it should be at least a story that a child wants to hear to the end. My little guy said “the end” half way through! He did not fall asleep, although he yawned with me. When I gave it to his Dad to read to him he took it from him and threw it. Sadly this didn’t work for my kiddo. :(”
Guess you’ll just have to try it for yourself, parents!