A fascinating guide to the world of slumber
Updated: Oct 17
The Magic of Sleep by Vicky Woodgate, Dorling Kindersley
"Everyone needs to sleep. In fact, you have to sleep to survive - just like you must eat and drink! Even with lots of research by scientists, we still know very little about sleep. But what we do know is that it helps our bodies repair, helps our minds learn and solve problems, regulates body weight, enhances creativity, strengthens immunity and is critical for your mental well-being. And after an awesome night's sleep, you feel like you can take on the world!"
The Magic of Sleep is full of fascinating, unusual and fun facts and explores the science and history of slumber. We see not only how the way we sleep has changed but also how we perceive and understand it. We learn the traditions of different cultures, read about myths and legends, and the truth behind them, and have common misconceptions debunked. We discover how various animals sleep and there are suggestions for how humans can improve their sleep, from helpful stretches to houseplants and helpful foods.
Sleep is a fascinating and mysterious subject, and an important and enormous part of our lives. This book celebrates its significance. We see how sleep impacts creativity as well as bodily functions. Did you know that the founder of Google got the idea for starting this company from a dream? Or that more people used to dream in black and white before the invention of colour television? I was highly amused to discover that an early "wake up device" invented in 1882 involved dropping heavy objects on sleepers' heads! I had no idea that it's practically impossible to sneeze in your sleep. My kids have dreamcatchers and were delighted to learn about their origins and how they are supposed to work.
This has answered lots of my children's questions and even some that I have had myself since I was younger. I've always wanted to know why bad dreams were called nightmares - and finally, I do! The illustrations are fabulous, with lots of humorous details. They feature an endearing and extremely animated cat called Mimi who accompanies readers on their learning journey. We adore cats and love how this has been cleverly designed to show Mimi interacting with, and becoming immersed in, lots of the information. She is adorable when demonstrating sleep positions and stretches! We are especially fond of the image showing Mimi being frightened by a mouse's shadow.
I've loved fact books since I was a child, but the ones that were around when I was younger, were nowhere near as attractive as this. The Magic of Sleep is an incredibly beautiful book, and even the endpapers are fabulous. My kids are 6 and almost 4, so are a little young for this book just yet, but we still have fun leafing through it together. They love looking at the pictures and will often point at a fact and ask me what it says. I know they will get more out of it as they grow. I love books that satisfy the curiosity of young minds. This one will provide endless entertainment and is ideal for long journeys and for home learning too. I can see it being useful when my kids are doing projects for school, and it would be an excellent classroom resource. For parents, sleep can become a luxury, and I appreciate it even more after reading this fantastic book!
About the author-illustrator:
Vicky Woodgate has been a commercial artist for over 20 years. She has travelled the globe working on interesting projects when in the TV, film and theme-park industries. Vicky's biggest mural to date is a whopping 7000 m2 for a Universal Studio Water Park in Spain - that’s the size of a football pitch! When Vicky moved into illustration, she considerably reduced the size of her paintbrush! Her first children's book as an author as well as the illustrator, Urban Jungle, was published by Big Picture Press in 2017. This reflects Vicky's passion for wildlife and travel and is full of maps and animals - it sounds amazing! This was followed by A World of Birds in 2018 and next came A World of Dinosaurs in 2020.
A huge thank you to this book's lovely author-illustrator, Vicky Woodgate, and the publisher, Dorling Kindersley, for kindly sending us a copy of this beautiful book in exchange for an honest review - all opinions expressed are our own.