Order a signed copy of Too Busy Sleeping.

Eleanor longs to play with her baby brother, but newborn Reuben is always asleep. Will Eleanor wear out with waiting?

Award winning illustrator Anna Pignataro’s watercolour and collage illustrations create a warm domestic backdrop for this story of excitement and frustration.

Age range: 0 – 5
Themes: siblings, newborns
Format: hardback
Publisher: Little Hare, Hardie Grant Egmont
Published: 2015
Available: September 2015
Price: AUD$24.95
Shipping: $8 flat-rate





R E V I E W S

Shelley Craft, Mornings on Channel 9 presenter

 It’s clear that author Zanni knows the emotion of bringing a new baby home first hand.

Zanni has been able to communicate such a complex and potentially challenging time for all the family, in such an effortless and beautiful manner. 

My two girls adored this book from the turn of the first page and now my four read old ‘reads’ it to her little sister adding comments like “I used to tickle you like that”.

It has become a night time favourite – I just hope they don’t start asking mummy for a baby Rueben!

The illustrations and the choice of spaghetti bolognaise (our favourite meal) related perfectly to Milla (4) and Eadie (2) and I have to say as a mum, it even brought back memories of the first few weeks with a new baby.

All this in one children’s book – well done Zanni! I look forward to reading more from you x

JACKIE FRENCH, Children’s Laureate & author

Surprisingly often, the perfect book arrives at the perfect time. Too Busy Sleeping arrived like magic just as my grandson needs to be prepared for a new baby in his life. I read the first sentence  and was enchanted…and the spell grew deeper as i read. This book is beautiful. And perfect for those days when a kid needs to make the hardest adjustment in their lives – ANOTHER.

The writing spins and dances, the artwork is warm and loving. This book is a treasure. I treasure it now, knowing how much my grandson will too. And his parents.

Pinky McKay, Parenting consultant and author

Are you expecting a baby and already have a toddler? ‘Too Busy Sleeping’ is a delightful picture book that will help you support your older child in the loveliest way. The story alone will help validate your little one’s feelings that adjusting to a new sibling isn’t easy and it will encourage gentle discussion about baby behaviour and how difficult it can be to have a new sibling – and how your older child is still important and loved. A great gift for any big brother or sister to be!

Reading Time, Children’s Book Council of Australia

Too Busy Sleeping is a gentle, sensitive and delightful story about a little girl’s curiosity and eagerness to play with her new baby brother.

As with any older sibling adjusting to changed family dynamics, Eleanor experiences feelings of frustration and disappointment. But it is only with good intentions to engage with Rueben; the baby who is always too busy sleeping. She imagines carting him to the park and sharing her blocks with him, but to her dismay newborns have their own agendas. Granny and Grandad help to pre-occupy her while she waits. Eleanor finally gets her time to dote over the tiny bub; an utterly divine and precious moment.

Written in simple, age-appropriate language about her own daughters’ first meeting, Zanni Louise beautifully captures the associated emotions and excitement of an older sister’s introduction to a little sibling. With that said, it is heartwarming to see a mostly positive attitude towards the new baby, rather than one of complete jealousy. The tenderness is matched with Anna Pignataro’s superb layered and textured pale watercolour and gouache paints, with paper and fabric collage, suitably emanating that warm, homely feel.

Too Busy Sleeping encourages young children to utilise positive strategies in coping with family changes and learning to wait, but also reassures them that their home is always a safe and loving place. The importance of grandparents (or other extended family members) in supporting roles is also integrated effectively.

A charming book for children aged 2 – 6, and particularly those with a sibling on the way, or as a way to reflect on those adorable ‘first-time’ moments.

Nurture Magazine

A sleeping baby may mean many things to new parents – time to get a few things done, chance for a nap, welcome relief after a long, wakeful night. For young brothers and sisters, it’s likely to mean something else entirely, and that’s the premise of this sweet story from first-time author, Zanni Louise. For Eleanor, the day she first meets her brother, Reuben, is a long one. She can’t play with him because he’s too busy sleeping, she can’t take him to the park because he’s too busy sleeping, she makes sandwiches with grandad and has morning tea with granny because he’s too busy sleeping. As night turns to day, Eleanor watches and waits, gets bored and grumpy and finally greets her new brother with excitement – and lethargy.

The is a simple but charming story that neatly sums up the gamut of emotions that might accompany a new arrival in the home – from curiosity to anticipation, exasperation, joy and boredom, making it perfectly attuned to young children about to welcome a new sibling. Too Busy Sleeping is a hardcover picture book and it looks a treat, gorgeously illustrated by award-winning Australian illustrator, Anna Pignataro, who has created over forty books for children and exhibited widely. The soft, pastel illustrations are a mix of pencil, watercolour and gouache embellished with tiny image snippets of vintage fabrics, which lend a nostalgic, warm and homely feel to the page.

Kids In The City Magazine

A sleeping baby may mean many things to new parents – time to get a few things done, chance for a nap, welcome relief after a long, wakeful night. For young brothers and sisters, it’s likely to mean something else entirely, and that’s the premise of this sweet story from first-time author, Zanni Louise. For Eleanor, the day she first meets her brother, Reuben, is a long one. She can’t play with him because he’s too busy sleeping, she can’t take him to the park because he’s too busy sleeping, she makes sandwiches with grandad and has morning tea with granny because he’s too busy sleeping. As night turns to day, Eleanor watches and waits, gets bored and grumpy and finally greets her new brother with excitement – and lethargy.

 The is a simple but charming story that neatly sums up the gamut of emotions that might accompany a new arrival in the home – from curiosity to anticipation, exasperation, joy and boredom, making it perfectly attuned to young children about to welcome a new sibling. Too Busy Sleeping is a hardcover picture book and it looks a treat, gorgeously illustrated by award-winning Australian illustrator, Anna Pignataro, who has created over forty books for children and exhibited widely. The soft, pastel illustrations are a mix of pencil, watercolour and gouache embellished with tiny image snippets of vintage fabrics, which lend a nostalgic, warm and homely feel to the page.

Babyology

If you’re about to bring a second child into the world, this lovely little book is for you. In a sweet and honest way, it shows the excitement and frustrations children face when a new little sibling is brought home. And the detailed illustrations are absolutely spectacular.

Too Busy Sleeping begins with Eleanor’s parents bringing her new little brother Reuben home to meet his big sister. Eleanor is very excited and just wants to play with her little brother but soon realises that he is always sleeping. She wants to take him to the park, to the garden and to play with her blocks but he is just too busy sleeping.

Her patience soon turns to frustration as she realises that all Reuben seems to do is sleep and eat. Soon enough though, she catches him awake and plays with his little tiny feet and his little tiny fingers and she falls in love with him all over again.

It’s a very sweet story – if a bit heart-breaking at times! – and one that will ring true in many homes.

Too Busy Sleeping is the first book by author Zanni Louise, who is from northern New South Wales. When she’s not writing, she runs imagination, storytelling and bookmaking workshops for kids, encouraging them to tell stories and embrace their imaginations.

The incredible illustrations by Anna Pignataro were created using a combination of pencil, watercolour, gouache and collage with vintage natural fabrics and recycled papers.

Read Plus

When baby Rueben is brought home from hospital, Eleanor longs to play with him. But he is never awake long enough. So begins this delightful book about babies and the impact they have on a family, particularly the siblings. Each set of four pages gives the reader an image of Eleanor doing something with Grandma or Grandad or Dad, being subtly kept away from the house while Mum takes care of their new child. And each page ends with a wish from the child that her new baby brother will play with her, but each finishes with the line that he is busy sleeping. Readers will love to predict the repeated lines and be surprised when the baby is finally awake for Eleanor, but with an unexpected result.

Children will instantly recognise the ideas in this book: the arrival of a new baby and the changes needed to be put in place at home, the place of the grandparents helping the family, seeing less of Mum and Dad as they concentrate their efforts more on the baby.
The gentle pastel and collage illustrations suit the story admirably. They echo the house and its contents, the family and the changes needed to be made with a new baby while the inclusion of materials, patches and laces from days gone by adds a feeling of continuity, of new beginnings but also links to the past. Readers will be intrigued with the collage and perhaps use the ideas in their own art work. This is a worthy addition to the class or school library.
Fran Knight

Margaret Hamilton, Pinerolo

Meeting a new baby brother can be interesting, exciting and frustrating. This heartwarming story by a first-time author, is gorgeously illustrated with watercolour and collage by an award winner. Recommended, especially for families with new babies.