Go to sleep, Jessie! by Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood. An Educational Review.

Ah, the memories. Babies and crying.

Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood’s picture book Go to Sleep, Jessie! is a simple book which creates many educational opportunities in an early childhood or home setting.


An Educational Review

by Jenny Graham.

There are no dark themes or surprise endings to upset young readers. The setting, (a home) the characters (a family) and events (a crying baby) should be familiar to children. The illustrations perfectly capture the story which ensures  pre-readers can retell the story in their own words. I imagine many pre-schoolers retelling, Go to Sleep, Jessie! to their favourite doll or teddy.

Kids enjoy pretending to be mummies and daddies and this book could easily be an addition to the ‘home dress up corner’ in childcare or early childhood settings.
I love the fact Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood decided not to give a name to the older sibling. The book is told in the account of a first person and with the use of ‘I’ children can envisage themselves in the role of the older sibling.

Educationally the book provides opportunities to cover the Early Years Learning Framework’s five main outcomes. Here is a brief activity you could do with each outcome, using Go To Sleep, Jessie! as a resource.

Learning Outcomes for children birth to 5 years.

1. Children have a strong sense of identity.

In Jessie’s family, Jessie likes cuddles and crying, dad likes chocolate and watching tv and mum likes reading the newspaper. Ask children to think about the things they like and if they were a character in Go to Sleep, Jessie! what would they be doing. They could draw a picture and make a class book.

2. Children are connected with and contribute to their world.

go to sleep jessie 2

As a class draw a picture of the people in Jessie’s family. Then ask children to draw a picture of the people in their family. Not many households would be the same. This gives children a sense of being a part of a family and feeling connected to their family.  Pictures can be drawn by children or templates can be used for children to colour in.

3. Children have a strong sense of wellbeing

Children need sleep. Pre-schoolers should be getting 11-13 hours a night http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/children-and-sleep/page/0/2).

Ask children what they do to help them go to sleep.

4. Children are confident and involved learners.

Go to sleep, Jessie! is a perfect book for a role play. As mentioned earlier the scenes should be familiar to most children. Children can use problem solving strategies to think of  their own solutions to Jessie’s crying. This would be a good chance for teachers and parents to ensure safety is a priority when problem solving. What things should you not give babies? Should you ask before climbing into a cot with a baby? What are some problems you can not solve on your own and you need help with?

5. Children are effective communicators

Whether you make individual finger puppets or have a puppet theatre in your early childhood setting , Go to sleep Jessie! would make an ideal book for children to make their own finger puppet play.
They could think of using different voices and different words depending on whether they are an adult or a child.

Overall, the book would be a great addition to any pre-school setting. I wish Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood best of luck in The Children’s Book Council of Australia Book Awards.

To find out more about Libby Gleeson


To find out more about Freya Blackwood


To find out more about Jenny Graham


Authors wishing to have an Educational Book Review of their book, please contact abcJennyG@hotmail.com for details.

Authors wishing to purchase Educational Activities based on their book and linked to the Australian Curriculum, please contact abcJennyG@hotmail.com for costs involved.