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The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep audiobook

ehrlin_rabbit who wants to fall asleep audioor “You’re getting tiiiiiiired. You’re getting sleeeeeeepy. Avoid this post if you want to accomplish aaaaaaaanything today.”

Remember The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep (Crown)? Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin’s runaway bestseller came out in October, and uses “sophisticated psychological techniques” to tell children’s unconscious minds to sleep. Is this a good idea? I dunno. I do doubt that any parent who’s in the mood to invoke Adam Mansbach will also be in the mood to read a text this long.

Well, there’s a solution. You guessed it: The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep is also available as an audiobook (Listening Library, September 2015).

I realize I’m not the target audience (nor am I an expert on child psychology), but I decided to use myself as a test case anyway. After all, falling asleep is something I need to accomplish every night, and it’s a task that ranges from easy (when there’s been lots to do) to difficult (when I can’t stop thinking about how much there is to do). So I played the audiobook on several different nights, sometimes listening to the narration by Fred Sanders, sometimes Kathleen McInerney.

To the narrators’ credit, neither sounds like a movie villain attempting a bastardized version of hypnosis. Some words are stretched out, as per the book’s all-too-specific “instructions to the reader,” but I always felt I was listening to a human engaging in mostly normal human speech. Also to the audiobook’s credit, I still haven’t heard the whole thing.

The first night I listened, I was already pretty tired. Within about a minute of Roger the Rabbit’s story, my cheek was asleep. I didn’t even know cheeks could fall asleep. A few minutes later, the rest of me must’ve fallen asleep too, because I didn’t find out what happened to Roger the Rabbit after Mommy Rabbit suggested, for some reason, that the best way to doze off would be to get out of bed, go outside, and visit a suspicious-sounding character named Uncle Yawn.

But a few nights later, I was having some trouble sleeping, so I decided to try again. This time, I was able to mull over some key questions while the narrator told me that “Roger the Rabbit was just your age. Not older, not younger, exactly as old as you are.” Is Roger a Libra like me? If I find him in dreamland, could we reminisce about the ’80s? Where did his uncle find invisible sleeping powder that works on “rabbits and children”? Is it a controlled substance, and if not, should it be?

Some parts of the story did remind me of relaxation exercises I’ve encountered in other settings. Roger-and-you travel down…down to visit Uncle Yawn. Uncle Yawn tells Roger-and-you to relax your feet, then your legs, then your upper body…

If you, like Roger the Rabbit (and me on a weeknight), sincerely want to go to sleep, there’s a good chance this will do the trick eventually (though maybe not right at one of the moments when the story tells you to “fall asleep, now”). But hypnosis and techniques like it only work on the willing, and if you’re a rambunctious child with a strong interest in seeing what excitement the past-your-bedtime hours hold, I would guess that it’s possible to resist.

Shoshana Flax About Shoshana Flax

Shoshana Flax, assistant editor for The Horn Book, Inc., is a former bookseller and holds an MFA in Writing for Children from Simmons College. She is a member of the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee.

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