Baby Book Club*: The Napping House

There is a house, a napping house

Where everyone is sleeping…

Audrey Wood’s The Napping House, (illustrated by Don Wood), is another one of our favourites, a gift to Owen from his uncle Luke (along with Peepo, profiled here). Like some of the earliest stories for children (think: “This is the House that Jack Built”), this is a cumulative tale that builds itself up in words and pictures, creating a portrait of a cozy (if unstable) naptime. Both author and illustrator depict a literal tower of naptime, with napping people and animals perched on top of one another in decreasing size. The weather outside is summer rain. You can see it teeming down outside; the light is dim and the sheets are warm. You know the kind of day I mean, right? This is the kind of day that would make anyone want to climb into bed and sleep until the sun comes out. This is the kind of book that gives me hope on days like today where the weather forecast calls for rain with relenting periods of drizzle for as far as the forecast can reach. Boo.

Well, I’d like to crawl between the sheets on days like today (and Sunday, and Saturday), but Owen is leery. In the book, I should mention, a Granny climbs into bed and is joined by a child, a dog, a cat, a mouse, and a flea. Owen (his mind on the flea? or God forbid the bedbug) seems to consider naptime a kind of punishment again. It’s not a chance to become human again but an imprisonment. Well, we do place him behind bars, but it’s for his own good, really.

In any case, at the end of the story, after the tower of sleeping creatures has tumbled down (Owen is on to something – that pesky flea really is at the root of the problem), the sun comes out! You can see the rain start to subside out the window, and the flowers become visible, and the last image of the book shows Granny (Nanny) and Child and Dog (ouf) and Cat (chat) and Mouse and Flea, frolicking on the grass.

That day will come. For now, I’ll dream of clean sheets on rainy afternoons and a son who can appreciate the virtue of naptime.

* So, I’ve decided to start a series… Every Tuesday (for a while) I will profile a book we love. They won’t really be reviews, but more like reflections of how the books fit into our lives. If you have any favourites, please share!**

** And also, this is my 100th post. Wow, no?