For the first time ever, a self-published book has topped the Amazon charts — and it’s bribed its way there with the glorious-sounding promise that this book can make any child fall asleep. The picture book, named The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep , was written by psychologist Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin, and comes with clear instructions for how to read it, which include techniques such as inserting your child’s name into the story, emphasizing certain phrases on repeat, and deliberately yawning. Forssén Ehrlin rather sweetly describes the effect as the “equivalent of rocking a baby to sleep.” But here’s the thing: while the book may be sending children straight to Dreamland, it’s a bit of a nightmare for their parents.
Parents are seriously freaked out by the sinister talking animals like the Heavy-Eyed Owl, Uncle Yawn, and the Sleep Snail that crop up to mesmerize children to sleep. Advice like “let your whole body be...just like a leaf, that falls down, slowly down, down…” feels a little more hypnotic than soothing, which is setting some parents on edge. The negative Amazon reviews range from “boring” at best to downright “creepy” at worst; Imogen Russell Williams told The Guardian that she found the hypnotic picture book “indubitably terrifying.” I guess parents aren’t really into the idea of brainwashing their children?
For every bad review, however, there has been an outpouring of twice as much praise, with grateful parents claiming their kids have fallen asleep within minutes of them opening the book. Being the parent of a child who won’t sleep must be utterly exhausting, and anything to make bedtime easier is a dream come true for exhausted moms and dads. You know what? Sign me up. If a picture book can send children to sleep, it might just send me to sleep too.