While You Sleep Reviews

Kirkus Starred Review

“A peek into the busy Land of Nod….Maruno narrates in flawless and immersive rhyming verse….Sato uses materials such as silk, paper, and textiles to infuse each spread with tangible, three-dimensional textures and depth. Readers will linger over each tiny, essential detail—nothing is extraneous….Like the materials on many of the spreads, the text and art are expertly stitched together, each visible and impactful on their own and interwoven into a bewitching whole. A perfect bedtime selection for eye-catching, vibrantly colorful dreams.”

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Quill & Quire Starred Review

“[T]his enchanting book is sure to calm the most wakeful child into a dreamy sleep….Like all good go-to-sleep books, While You Sleep acts as a lullaby, soothing the child with the rhythm of the words and the sleepy, whimsical images, transforming the darkness of night into a magical realm where all will be well till the morning….Maruno’s delightful story about the industrious bunnies and the world that needs nightly upkeep is inspired and original, and her rhymes are sweet and satisfying….Sato’s use of collage is clever and inventive, and children will enjoy picking out familiar materials….While You Sleep casts a magic spell that will help lull little ones to sleep, and might just nudge a sleepy grown-up in that direction, too.”

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School Library Journal

“This lovely picture book shows what one parent tells her little one as she’s going to sleep. The text is written in peaceful rhyming couplets, while warmly colored collage illustrations show the tidying up that goes on while people rest….It’s a cozy, positive bedtime story sure to please parents and children alike….A comforting story for kids who wonder what they’re missing by going to bed.”

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Publishers Weekly

“In rhyming couplets, a caregiver encourages a child…to embrace bedtime so that a crew of bunny helpmeets can begin their work tidying up the world. As a child’s caregiver turns off the light and offers a bedtime kiss, lines describe the “chores,”…being completed by toy stuffed rabbits come to life: “Comb the grass, straighten the trees,/ Place a dot on the black-eyed peas.” Other imagery draws heavily on sewing metaphors, aligning with Sato’s collaged illustrations, which rely on paper, textiles, and embroidery silk: when “the woven night of black and gray” is described as being “embroidered with a Milky Way,” the child is shown yawning beneath an inky knit blanket and a purple embroidered sky. Throughout, the textured scenes remix details from the child’s waking life into suitably snuggly dreamscapes.”

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“The dreamy, lyrical couplets pair beautifully with the enchanting, lushly layered illustrations composed of fabric, yarn, embroidery, and paper that altogether artfully and imaginatively create a fanciful, dynamic atmosphere full of fun details: the girl wanders through a garden of bright, oversize flowers, paintbrushes, and color pencils; the girl’s cat eyes the yarn the bunnies use to decorate the night sky; and so on. There’s much to engage and charm in this whimsical, sweet, and reassuring bedtime read.”

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Foreword Reviews

“Rhyming couplets create a whimsical melody while the collage art illustrations will captivate children with their colorful layers and textures—until they drift off to sleep to dream of the brand new world they’ll wake up to.

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Manhattan Book Review

“Author Jennifer Maruno has tapped into childhood imagination to find this cute story of what youngsters might dream of happening while they sleep. She has written it in rhyming couplets, which little ones will like. The illustrations by Miki Sato are simply stunning. She uses a combination of drawing and collage to create wonderful illustrations that have the look of three-dimensional art. The little night-helpers really come to life with this method. She fills the backgrounds with terrific details to keep little eyes busy and engaged.”

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Children’s Literature

The power of storytelling and its transcendence into the world of dreams are at the center of this enchanting story….Through gifted word play, Maruno transforms what many parents and caregivers experience as a difficult task—that of getting a child in bed—into a delightful journey. Maruno has created a tale that feels like a love letter, or a poem, from a parent to a child. Any child will love listening to this as they get lost and travel away with it in their sleep. Sato’s magnificent collage-based illustrations are filled with color, texture, complexity, and feeling. The combination of text and art make this book one that should not be missed. This is a story that takes all readers into a world of wonder and inspiration, and it is a memorable book that leaves a lasting impression while conveying the meaning of love, along with the power of the imagination and bedtime stories. Needless to say, this is the perfect bedtime read and a must-have book!…Reviewer Rating: 5”

CM Magazine

While You Sleep was the most beautiful picture book I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing this year. Miki Sato’s illustrations pull you in and along as three little bunnies take readers through their nightly care routine. The cut paper and mixed media collages evoke a snoozy watercolored world where these stuffed rabbits mend clouds, charge rainbows and weave night….The premise of this sweet book is simply that, as a child sleeps, her three stuffed rabbits magically take care of the world. It is a fanciful little story that children will likely find peaceful and interesting in equal measure….Maruno’s story feels respectful to the young child’s developing imagination….Highly Recommended”

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Open Book

“Infused with wonder and faith in the fantastical, While You Sleep is told is song-like rhyming couplets that rock readers into their own dreamy world, perfectly captured in Miki Sato’s ethereal collage art, which makes use of not only paper but also textiles including embroidery silk.

A book about believing the world could be just a little bit better and more beautiful when we wake, While You Sleep is hopeful and magical. Maruno, who honed her ear for rhyme and feel for storytelling as a parent and educator, knows how to look at the world through a child’s eyes. The book has already earned a coveted starred review in Kirkus, signalling a rare and special picture book from a writer who intuitively understands the genre.”

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YA Books Central 

While You Sleep is a sweet picture book that settles children to sleep with rhyming text and whimsy….This is quite a whimsical story that imagines the planet and universe as being crafted while children sleep. Told in a rhyming pattern, the rhythm is one that little ears will appreciate and works well for reading aloud at bedtime. The illustrations are really unique, appearing as though they have texture, made from collages and photographed. They are quite lovely and thoughtful with plenty for children to explore on each page.

The text remains large and clear on each page, making it a solid choice for bedtime and lowlight. Combined with the theme and rhymes, this works well for a nighttime pick….[A] sweet and whimsical bedtime story that invites readers to imagine the world and universe as something being crafted during slumber.”

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Book Time

“Of the three picture books I read this week, While You Sleep might be my favourite….The collage art by illustrator Miki Sato brings the story to life. I love how she uses not only paper, but also textiles and embroidery silk to create such beautiful pages. Each double page spread is a piece of art and brings the story to life….If you are a parent who reads the same story on repeat, you’ll enjoy this one as Sato creates pages with so much to look at.”

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Storytime with Stephanie

“Are you looking for a new book to settle your little reader into a blissful sleep? Jennifer Maruno and Miki Sato have come together in their dreamy new bedtime story While You Sleep that is sure to spark restful nights and good dreams….Maruno’s lyrical, rhyming text ebbs and flows from page to page without missing a beat. While You Sleep has the qualities of the great classic bedtime stories like Goodnight Moon and Guess How Much I Love You….Maruno creates a sense of security and calm with her words Readers cannot help but have good dreams while drifting off to thoughts of flowers being painted and butterfly wings being dusted….Miki Sato’s collage style illustrations are a perfect complement to Jennifer Maruno’s text. The illustrations are soft and cuddly, soothing and comforting enveloping readers in a warm cozy visual blanket.”

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The International Educator

“[A] gentle bedtime story by Jennifer Maruno with glorious art by Miki Sato. Collage of fabrics, weavings, cotton balls, colourful paper and more create gorgeous images of a child being tucked in bed for the night while the world is being dusted and swept for a new day….A reassuring story for little ones.”

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CanLit for LittleCanadians

“While You Sleep is a very contemplative story…about softness and security, wishes and hopes. It’s imaging how things come to be and appreciating how they are. And, by telling her story through rhyme, Jennifer Maruno gives While You Sleep a dynamism of flow, making it a journey of childhood dreams of what might be….Using paper, textiles and embroidery silk, Miki Sato makes the child’s worlds…touchable and deep both in dimension and spirit….With deftness of cut and placement of shape, Miki Sato and her night-helpers make this child’s world heavenly….Infused with sweetness and gratitude for a world of natural beauty, While You Sleep will be a great bedtime read and reminder that our world is one to cherish.”

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Luminous Libro

5 out of 5 stars….This beautiful book is enchanting! The story sweeps you away into a magical land of dreams as the bunnies stitch up the clouds, polish the sun, and embroider the Milky Way with stars.

The collage art is absolutely stunning! I had to stop and stare at each page, looking for all the little details of stitching and beadwork and fabric and watercolors….Miki Sato, is quickly becoming one of my favorite artists….Something about this art is so gentle; perfect for a bedtime book.”

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Getting Kids Reading

“Soft, rich mixed-media collages beautifully illustrate each fanciful concept. You won’t have to work hard to make the book sound as good as it looks….The rhyming couplets easily drip from the pages in a way that is comforting and soothing. The whole effect is cozy and cuddly (think Goodnight Moon) and your little reader is bound to fall asleep by the time you reach the final sentence.”

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Charlotte Offsay (Instagram) 

“Soothing playful text and adorable cut out illustrations make for a sweet bedtime read and encourage littles everywhere to close their eyes and recharge.⁠”