I’m so excited to finally be able to share this book
with you. I’ve been working on it for over 3 years and it’s a huge relief and a joy to see Arlo
and his friends finally released in the wild!
The book has had some lovely reviews but this is my favourite (from Kirkus Reviews, August 2020)
“An overtired lion can’t fall asleep.
Arlo’s lids droop. His eyes sag. He flops over a tree branch. But sleep eludes him no matter where he lies down. “The grass was too prickly, and the earth was too hard.…The sun was too hot, but the night was too cold.” Arlo’s downright exhausted—and then an owl sings him a quieting meditation: “Think about the places where you’d like to be, / the things that you’d do there and what you might see. / Relax your whole body, slow your breathing right down, / imagine you’re sinking into the soft ground.” (The melody is left to readers.) The song works! In the excitement and vigor that follows hours of sleep, Arlo accidentally wakes others, but it’s OK—they, too, can use the song. Rayner’s tale is never frenetic, not even early on: Arlo’s fatigue is of heavy, tousled woe, not crankiness. His mane—teeming with pencil lines, ink lines, watercolors, light blue and lavender bits, what looks like the residue from popped bubbles, and black and brown curvy zigzags—never looks busy; though nonrepresentational, it looks utterly organic (and spellbinding). Owl’s feathers are speckled, splotched, and splattered, using one palette in multiple patterns. Landscapes are alluringly tranquil, and Arlo’s own yellows and browns harmonize with dusk’s burnt oranges. Scale varies dramatically, always with purpose. The whiskers and eyelids of the sleeping lions of Arlo’s pride show, via the most delicate lines, that sleep is bliss.
Gentle and gorgeous. (Picture book. 3-7)”