Putting readers to sleep isn't usually an author's goal, but a Swedish behavioral scientist hopes his children's book will do just that.
Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin claims the book he wrote will help kids all over the world fall asleep at bedtime.
The book is called The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep: A New Way Of Getting Children To Sleep, and it's currently the number one bestseller on Amazon. "I can make anyone fall asleep," the front cover states.
The 26-page book follows Roger the Rabbit, who tries to go to sleep with the help of his mom, the Heavy-Eyed Owl, Uncle Yawn and the Sleep Snail. The critters give him advice like "think slowly, breathe slowly and calm, slow and calm" and "let your whole body be heavy, so heavy it feels like it falls... just like a leaf, that falls down, slowly down, down ..."
With lines like that, it's not surprising that The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep is described as a "hypnotic" bedtime story. The Amazon description calls the book "a quick and guaranteed way to help your child relax in the evening or during a nap." Ehrlin himself told the Daily Express that his book is "the verbal equivalent of rocking your child to sleep," adding that it "[helps] the child focus on relaxation and become part of the story."
Parents have shared their own glowing reviews on Amazon. One top review notes that if you follow the book's instructions regarding vocal intonations and speed while reading it aloud, the bedtime story can be extremely effective. "The rabbit who wants to fall asleep is a fantastic example of hypnotic language in storytelling," adds another reviewer.
"I am amazed!" a parent under the username Tired Mom of 5 wrote. "We battle sleep every night with my now 2-year-old. We got to page three and he was out!!! It really works!!!" This review is just one of dozens of similar responses from parents.
Still, others weren't quite so enthusiastic. "Didn't work for us!" wrote Clare Harper. "Our 2 year old still wide awake -- disappointed though I was probably gullible in the first place thinking it would." Mom Lisa James said that her little boy "just rolled about the bed totally uninterested in the story after a couple of pages!"
Beyond parent reviews, the author claims on the book's Facebook page that psychologists recommend The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep to parents of young children. Ehrlin himself studied psychology for six years and teaches courses about communication, body language and media training at the University of Jönköping in Sweden.
Kelly Glazer Baron, an assistant professor of neurology who focuses on circadian rhythms and sleep at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, told The Huffington Post that she thinks the book is a great idea. "Having a relaxing and consistent bedtime routine is probably the most important thing for toddler/preschooler sleep," she said adding, "I love that this book uses words that make sense to kids to help explain how to relax and fall asleep. It's a skill that all kids and grown-ups need to have and it doesn't come naturally for everyone."
Given that bedtime struggles can be a common part of everyday parenting, it's not surprising that this book has received such an overwhelming response from parents. To all the legions of sleep-deprived moms and dads out there, the message is, apparently, simple: All it takes to get your kid to sleep is a cute bunny with hypnotic powers.
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