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[Book Review] Stars Before Bedtime

The subtitle of this book is incorrect. It reads: “A mindful fall-asleep book.”  It has only a few mindfulness practices but concentrates on visualizing, imagining, and relaxation experiences and techniques much more.

Stars Before Bedtime is a short, big picture book at 31 pages, meant to be read to young readers.

The limited text packs in a lot. First, we have the core theme of going to sleep, but this is planted inside the practices and not overly highlighted. The real emphasis is the book’s introduction to some of the night-sky constellations and their mythological characters. 

This is where visualizing and imaging come in. Readers are challenged to visualize each character, its attributes, and sometimes its movements. In addition, readers are asked to assume some of these traits as being their own. Here is an example that involves the constellation Aquila (the eagle) and constellation Corvus (the crow):

“Stretch your arms out as wide as you can, like wings, and take a deep breath in. As you breathe out, picture yourself soaring across the night sky like an eagle. With your eyes still closed, place your hands on your belly and take a deep breath in. Fill your belly with air so it gets big and fat like Corvus’s did when he filled it with fruit. Can you feel the breath there? Now breathe out, let it go, and feel the air leaving your tummy. Do this three times.”

The accompanying illustrations are simple in style and color but get the job done. There is enough to convey the central myth around each of the 22 constellations mentioned in the text.

Each two-page spread can keep children (or adults) busy for a few weeks if time is taken to seriously learn and master each technique in Stars Before Bedtime.

Stars Before Bedtime
By Claire Grace and Dr. Jessamy Hibberd, illustrated by Hannah Tolson

Copyright 2020.
Publisher: Quarto Publishing
Ages: 3-6 (but adults would do well to practice everything covered in the book, too).

Source of biographical details: Amazon book sales page

“Dr. Jessamy Hibberd is a London-based Chartered Clinical Psychologist, author, and commentator. With over 15 years in clinical practice, she runs a clinic where she works one-to-one with people experiencing common mental health problems. She is the co-author of the international best-selling THIS BOOK WILL series, including This Book Will Make You Sleep.”

“Irish-born Claire Grace studied English and Philosophy before becoming a commissioning editor of children’s books. She is the author of many books for children and has worked on a collection of award-winning titles. She now lives in London, where she spends her time writing, drinking coffee, and dog spotting.” 

“Originally from a small town near Leeds, Hannah Tolson moved the long, long way down to Falmouth, Cornwall, to study illustration by the sea. After graduating in 2013, she still lives and continues to illustrate there.”