Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Sleep Well, Siba and Saba (Nansubuga Nagadya Isdahl)

Author:  Nansubuga Nagadya Isdahl

Illustrator:  Sandra van Doorn

Target Ages:  3-7

Genre:  Picture Book

Awards:  Kirkus Best Picture Books of 2017, A Might Girl’s 2017 Books of the Year

Publisher Summary:
Forgetful sisters Siba and Saba are always losing something. Sandals, slippers, sweaters – you name it, they lose it. When the two sisters fall asleep each night, they dream about the things they have lost that day. Until, one night, their dreams begin to reveal something entirely unexpected…

First Lines:
Siba and Saba lost things. Not a day slipped by when the sisters hadn’t lost something…somewhere.

Memorable Moment:
And from that day on, Siba and Saba never again dreamed of the things they had lost.  They only dreamed about the special things they would someday see.

Sleep Well, Siba and Saba can be enjoyed on many levels. Young children will love this story of close-knit sisters who have a knack for losing track of their possessions while they are caught up in the moment.  The glimpses of Ugandan culture and the scenic views are enchanting.  The soothing alliterative language floats like dream, making it an ideal bedtime story. 

However, the narrative works on another level.  The sisters are holding on to the past, even in their dreams.  By doing so, they are kept in place—in their childhood. When their dreams begin to look to the future, though, the possibilities are endless. 

Finally, it illustrates the girls’ maturity.  Siba is entrusted with money…for her future.  Saba receives a school uniform…in preparation for a new chapter in her life.  Even as they move forward, it is clear that their family’s love is constant. 

The illustrations add to the dreamy experience.  Eye-catching yellows, greens, and reds fill the pages with lively shapes and fanciful flora.  Realist scenes such as market day and sleepovers are countered with surreal ones with animals wearing shoes and sweaters flying through the air.  

Sleep Well, Siba and Saba is a poignant and whimsical look at childhood—full of beautiful moments in the present as well as hopeful ones for the future.

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