Tuesday, 25 February 2014

"Go To Sleep or I Let Loose the Leopard" by Steve Cole and Bruce Ingman (Jonathan Cape PB Ltd)

Go To Sleep or I Let Loose the Leopard

Written by Steve Cole

Illustrated by Bruce Ingman

Published by Jonathan Cape PB Ltd

We wanted this book as soon as we saw the title, and the (slightly scary) cover image. "Go To Sleep or I Let Loose the Leopard" is the sort of book that's destined to become part of a parent's bedtime routine - even if they aren't reading it!

We'll explain why in a moment, but first let's take a look at the story.

An exasperated babysitter is having a troublesome evening. Two children, Joe and Ellie, are determined that they won't be good and go to sleep. They're too full of energy and are too busy trashing their room, inventing new games, and pulling their beds to bits to even contemplate catching some Zs.

Try as she might, the babysitter can't get them to settle, and after umpteen trips up and down stairs, she has only one tactic left.

"Go to sleep, or I let loose the leopard!"

Joe and Ellie have scoffed at all her other threats, so why would a silly old leopard be any different? The kids aren't convinced until they hear the babysitter turn a key in a lock, hear a cage door swing open, and a low roar and the soft foot-padding of paws on stairs.


There's an art to reading this book aloud, and it's such a hugely fun tension-building book that's perfect if you love to ramp up the excitement with every turn of the page (This is something that silly dads like me do when really they should be settling their children down, not making them even more crazy and over-excited when reading bedtime stories!)

Of course we're not about to tell you what happens next, oh no! We'll let the book's title lure you in just as it did us, and let the promise of Steve Cole's fabulous tension-building story and Bruce Ingman's fantastic illustrations add extra spice to this highly recommended book.

As to why it's become part of our bedtime routine even when we aren't reading it? Well, every time we hear Charlotte playing with her torch, or complaining that her pillow is funny, or that her sheets are untucked, guess what we now shout up the stairs?

Charlotte's best bit: We won't spoil the ending but the leopard, aieeee!!!

Daddy's Favourite bit: Such a fantastic twist, and the sort of premise and title that you can't help wanting to investigate further. Read it, Daddies (and mummies!)

(Kindly sent to us for review by Random House / Jonathan Cape PB Ltd)