15 October 2015

Review and Giveaway: The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep

This post is written in collaboration with Penguin RandomHouse but all opinions are entirely my own.

I was recently sent a copy of "The rabbit who wants to fall asleep" and asked to write a review. I had heard of the book on social media and read a few claims that it had sent even the most sleep-resistant children to sleep. I must admit to being extremely skeptical of those claims and held little to no hope that a book about a rabbit could make any changes to someone's bedtime routine!

The #RabbitBook is a #1 best seller which is nothing like a normal storybook for bedtime. It feels less like a story book than a 'technique' to get your child to sleep. The front cover shows a little sign claiming "I can makE aNyone falL asleep" but inside the front cover the author, Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin is clear that although he hopes your child will fall asleep he makes no guarantees!

But what is it?

If you've ever listened to a relaxation tape, or one of those Paul McKenna audiobooks to make you thin or quit smoking etc, just imagine one of those but childrenified. It's sort of a story, but more than that it's a calm relaxing series of words designed to make the child feel sleepy. The words don't always flow naturally, so it feels a bit like reading a script, or a spell! 

The first page teaches you how to reeeead the boooook sloowlyyy and calmly and emphasise certain words. Italics are to be read slowly and calmly and bold words emphasised. (The bold words are generally sleep, now, fall asleep, tired, very tired and so on). I listened to a clip of someone reading the first few pages on YouTube before I tried it myself which helped me to get to grips with the strange style of reading. You have to channel you inner hypnotist a little bit! 

What's the story?

There is a storyline in amongst all this repetition and fall asleep now-ing, which is that Roger the Rabbit is trying to fall asleep and goes on a journey with [your child's name] to see Uncle Yawn who will help them get to sleep. On the way they meet Sleepy Snail and Heavy-Eyed Owl who give them more ideas to help them fall asleep. Then everyone goes to sleep. Now. 

Each character they come across gives Roger [and you child] a little relaxation technique, such as putting all your thoughts and worries into a box for tomorrow (something I need to learn to do!), progressive muscle relaxation technique (something I always do when I'm tense) and trying to slow down your mind (something my kids need to learn to do!). 

My experiences with the book

What you really want to know is did it work...

I must point out that my boys are used to going to bed with stories and are not tricky sleepers. They usually have 2 stories, then lights out and a bedtime song. The older one then says goodnight and I leave while he's awake but I generally wait in the room until the little one asleep. 

Attempt 1

First up, I tried it on my little one, who is 22 months old. He usually is the harder one, and it takes longer for him to fall asleep. His favourite trick is to look sleepy and then ping his eyes open and jump up demanding another book when one book ends. The advantage of this book, in that sense, is that it is REALLY, REALLY long, but I still fully expected him to be awake at the end and ask for Peppa Pig or something. 

He started off by pointing at the rabbit a lot and tossing and turning in his bed a little bit. He seemed really awake so I was convinced it wouldn't work but once he got comfy I could see his eyelids getting heavy. He was lying quite still with his eyes glazed over and then I got to the page where Roger the rabbit got to Uncle Yawn and he sprinkled the magic invisible sleeping powder and said 3,2,1. And my little one was gone. Off to the land of Uncle Yawn and Sleepy Snail. Boom. 

I kept reading for a little while as the book suggests but it really is so very long, that I couldn't bring myself to finish it after he was already asleep!
Boys: 0. Roger: 1

Round 2

Then I went into the bigger boy's room. He is 3 and 1/4 and I told him that this was a special book that is supposed to make you feel sleepy so it was ok if he fell asleep while I read it. He really likes his bedtime song so I was convinced he'd stay awake for that.

He seemed intrigued and interrupted me a lot at the beginning but he soon relaxed and I could tell he was listening and following the instructions. The progressive muscle relaxation bit, when the book asks you to relax your feet, then your legs and so on is a relaxation technique I've used myself and I would never have expected a child as young as three to actually follow the instructions and 'relax' on command. But he did! 

And here's the part I am actually a bit loathe to write. I don't want to be this person, (y'know like the person who has a cool street magic trick done on them and stands on the pavement looking bewildered)... but... he fell asleep at the 3,2,1 bit too. 
Boys: 0. Roger: 2.
Colour me weirded out.  

It's not magic, I told myself. It's just relaxation techniques and guided meditation but with fairy tales and rabbits for kids. 

I convinced myself that it was the weird way you read the book that did the trick. I could make them fall asleep using the same sloowww, callllmmm voice reading any book, I thought, so the next night I tried reading The Owl Who was Afraid Of the Dark in that voice... but it didn't have the same effect. Stupid Plop and his stupid DARK IS KIND.

Going for the hat-trick:

A few days later I was at my wits end with the younger boy and his refusal to nap. I tried the book again without success. In fact I only got 2 pages in before he bounced out of bed, legged it out of his room and went to jump on his brother's bed.

To be fair to the book, I have seen children actually resist medical sedation before and I'm pretty sure my son would fight a dose of midazolam to avoid his nap at the moment.

Well played baby, well played.
Boys:1. Roger: 2. 


I like the concept of the book, in that I think it's a nice method for encouraging wakeful children to relax, slow their minds and drift off to sleep. If my older boy seemed very anxious one night or I could see his mind was whirring on about something I might read it again to help him switch off. Or if my little one was climbing the walls and unable to settle, I might reach for this to finally get him to sleep. For a worrier or a anxious child I think this would be a lovely way to help them drift off to sleep. 

It won't, however be one of our regular bedtime stories. I don't need a special technique for my boys' bedtimes at the moment and I love reading a variety of stories every night. I'd far rather be on my 3rd Alfie story, or part way through a compendium of Aesop's fables than repeating words slooowly and calmlyyy for 25 minutes just to get my kids to fall asleep.

Have you tried it? Tweet me or say hi on Facebook to let me know what you thought! If you haven't got a copy but are intrigued, the book is available in bookshops and online! Or you could just enter my fancy new giveaway!...

#RabbitBook Giveaway

The lovely people at Penguin RandomHouse are offering 3 of my readers the chance to win a copy of the book to try it for yourselves! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I want to win this book for my grandson because he would enjoy it.

  3. I really enjoyed reading your review, especially the experiences you had reading the book to your boys. I am curious to know whether the adult reading the story is affected by the techniques and is tempted to drift off to sleep too!


  4. My 2 year old loves bedtime stories, and I love it when he falls asleep! It's a win/win for both of us!

  5. Kerry Willoughby19 October 2015 at 04:16

    I would love to try this book! I've seen a lot about it on fb too and was convinced it wouldn't work but having read this I guess it's worth a try on my 2 year old who doesn't like sleep!

  6. Seems like it may work for children that already have some kind of routine/learnt to sleep etc. Mine are a little old/young for this, but it maybe worth it once my LO is a bit older.

  7. I love the concept and I've seen mixed reviews on it, I'm lucky my kids just fall asleep lol. thanks for sharing with #readwithme

  8. Great review! I've read this book to LP and although he doesn't fall asleep he does settle, I'm happy with that. It certainly isn't a book we will be reading every night, you're right it is very long, but an occasional long story doesn't hurt. x #readwithme

  9. I am weirdly fascinated by this! Would love to try it and see if it works on my two. Loved your review: hilarious!

  10. I want to try....I'm very much a doubter!