In August 2007, Benji Bennett's life was turned upside-down when his 4-year-old son Adam died suddenly from an undiagnosed brain tumour. At Adam’s funeral, Benji made a pledge to encourage other parents to enjoy more time with their children and out of these truly dreadful circumstances, Before You Sleep was born; a bedtime story that enables parents to tell their children just how much they love them before they drift off.
Each page starts with ‘I love you much more than…’ before exploring different scenarios that can be enjoyed together. While the repeated rhyme and accompanying Disney-esque illustrations are an uplifting note to end your child’s day on, it’s the variation of adventures that Adam and Benji go on, that give this book its happy and animated feel. Whether it’s hand in hand on a sunny beach, soaring above the world’s famous sights in a jumbo jet or encountering dinosaurs, there’s lots of fun to be had.
The book has won a prestigious Irish Book Award and has even outsold The Gruffalo in Ireland. Although admittedly, Before You Sleep might not match the rhyming perfection of Julia Donaldson’s classic, it doesn’t affect its meaning. Before You Sleep is a certainly a keepsake of the amazing times Benji had with Adam, but is also a reminder to all parents that we should cherish every moment we have with our children, and perhaps, hug them a little tighter every night.
Before You Sleep is published in the UK on the 2nd July 2016.
2% of the proceeds from the sale of the book go to Barretstown, who help to rebuild lives affected by childhood cancer.
(This is a collaborative review written for Way To Blue. I was provided with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review).