*I received a free copy of this book with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: Merel is angry. Why does her baby brother have to be sick? All fun and happiness at home is gone. It seems her parents have forgotten she exists — and now Sleep has abandoned her too. If she doesn’t get him back, she will have to stay awake forever! So Merel sets out on a perilous journey to Lullaby
Sleep, Merel, Sleep is a sweet and wistful tale about treasuring those closest to us.
Merel is feeling sorry for herself and very, very angry. Accustomed to having her parent’s attention, since her poorly baby brother has come onto the scene she has felt pushed out and ignored. Merel has such a temper on her as a result that even her Sleep has had enough of her behaviour and decides to head back to Lullaby Grove and leave her to it. Sleep, Merel, Sleep charts Merel’s adventure into a magical world to find her Sleep and bring him back.
Along the way she encounters people and problems that the astute reader will notice have their parallels in her everyday life, and by solving the puzzles facing her on her fantastical quest, she gains insight into her own behaviour and priorities which help her come to terms with her real-life situation.
There are some obvious comparisons in fiction and media, with Alice in Wonderland, Pan’s Labyrinth, Labyrinth, The Faraway Tree, The Chronicles of Narnia and My Neighbour Totoro to name but a few. The similarities are there as a young protagonist fights and searches through a fantasy landscape to solve her factual problems. However, Merel also has her own unique voice, and the characters and setting are distinct and vibrant, bringing something fresh and interesting to this familiar scenario.
Obviously I would highly recommend this for young readers who are dealing with jealousy of a new sibling (especially a high-needs sibling), but there is so much to enjoy here that really I can recommend it for anyone, children and adults alike! I will be following this author with great interest and in the meantime I cannot wait to introduce Minishine to Merel!
Merel heard a humming sound coming from the window – a winged creature.
“What’s this dragonfly doing in here?” she whispered and armed herself with one of the travel magazines from the stack on the coffee table. She dashed to the window, waving the rolled-up paper in the direction of the intruder.
The insect uttered a surprised bleep.
“You can see me?” it croaked and darted to the ceiling.
Merel felt as if somebody had removed the bones from her legs. She flopped into the overstuffed chair behind her, without losing sight of the creature, which slowly came down and landed on the windowsill, only an arm’s length away from her.
Merel gazed at it. It was a little man, having the size and shape of a peanut shell, stuffed into overalls that shimmered like the scales of a rainbow trout.
He pulled a silvery backpack from his shoulders, dropped it on the ledge and sat down on it.
Scratching his forehead, he sighed.
“You can see me,” he said in his squeaky voice. “What a mess.”
– Silke Stein, Sleep, Merel, Sleep
Sleep, Merel, Sleep is available on Amazon right now!