Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin's The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep was an international bestseller, allowing parents across the globe to reclaim bedtime with the tranquil bedtime tale. In advance of Carl-Johan's latest book The Little Elephant Who Wants to Fall Asleep, read an exclusive extract from the book, which will add variety to your little one's bedtime routine and provide a sweet and tender end to each day.
To achieve the best results when you read this bedtime story, you should read it through to yourself first so that you are familiar with the text and are freer to engage with the story when you read it to your child. At certain points in the story, it is recommended that you adjust your tone of voice or yawn. Feel your way forward, and see what works best for your child. When the text is marked in bold, emphasize these words. When the text is marked with italics, try saying these words in a more soothing voice. Where it says [name], feel free to insert your child’s name. Where it says [yawn], it would be a good idea to do so.
This story is about an elephant named Ellen. She is the kindest and bravest little elephant in the world, and she wants to be your friend and teach you new things.
Ellen the Elephant is starting to feel tired now, and she wants you to go with her as she walks to her bed on the other side of the magical forest, where she is going to sleep soundly all night long. Ellen the Elephant is the same age as you, [name]. She likes doing the same things as you, playing and having fun, on her own and with her friends. Sometimes, when she’s playing, the time goes so fast that it’s suddenly time to go to bed. So in a lot of ways you’re very alike, and you think the same way, [name]. That means it will be easy to follow Ellen as this story helps her to fall asleep.
“I’m starting to feel tired, and I want to go to bed,” Ellen the Elephant says to Mummy Elephant [yawn].
“Of course you can go to bed now,” Mummy Elephant replies. “Take your friend who’s listening to the story through the magical forest to the place where you sleep, and fall fast asleep together. The magical forest is really good at making children feel sleepy, and it’s lovely and safe for tired children. I wonder how soon you’re going to choose to fall asleep to the story, now – or in a little while.”
Mummy Elephant reminds Ellen, “There are lots of sleepy things around you right now, and you, [name], can choose the ones that will best help you fall asleep.”
Ellen the Elephant asks Mummy Elephant, “What do you do to make yourself feel tired?”
“I usually let everything be sleepy – the sounds and voices around me, and the things I imagine. The way the pillow my head is resting on helps me fall asleep when I say to myself, Relax. It feels so lovely with the covers tucked up around me. That’s when I feel most tired, like now [yawn].”
Together, you and Ellen the Elephant set off on your adventure, which will make you really tired now. On the hill, Ellen’s mummy waves to you sleepily and says, “Goodnight, sweet child, see you in the morning, when you’ve slept soundly all night.”
Ellen the Elephant says to you, “Come with me, and I’ll show you where I usually fall fast asleep. It doesn’t matter if you will easily fall asleep, before the story is over. I get tired very quickly when I’m about to drift off to sleep and someone is reading me a story.”
Ellen says, “Come with me. Let’s go into the magical sleepy forest together. So that you will feel completely calm and safe, you’re welcome to ride on my back. That will help you to relax and be lulled naturally to sleep, [name]. I like falling asleep, either in my bed or in the magical forest, right now. They both work just as well, and I feel tired every time I think about it.” Ellen the Elephant yawns [yawn].
Once inside the forest, Ellen the Elephant says calmly and softly, “The forest is full of kind animals who are my friends. Over there, for instance, is where Snoozy Mole lives with his parents.”
Snoozy Mole looks out from his home with his eyes closed and says, “Shhh, it’s time to be quiet and listen to the story now. I’m about to fall fast asleep. My parents say that when children stay still to listen to the story right now, they let everything around them gradually fade away. A lot of the time, children also want to lie down and relax so that they can fall asleep too. Like when you feel it’s time to fall asleep, and fall asleep now.”
Snoozy Mole goes on: “Sometimes I pretend I’m not listening and am doing something else, and on those occasions, I feel even more relaxed and tired.” He settles down and falls asleep now.
“Now Snoozy Mole and his family are all sleeping. We’re the last ones who’ll be falling asleep soon, [name], with the help of the magical forest,” Ellen the Elephant says, and yawns [yawn].
In the magical forest, the wind blows gently through the trees, whispering, “Sleep well,” which somehow only makes you feel more and more relaxed.
You reach an old flight of steps. Ellen the Elephant tells you they’re called the Sleepy Stairs because almost all the children who go down the stairs, now, get really tired and just want to lie down comfortably, when you walk down, down, and down.
“The staircase has five steps, and with each step we take down the stairs you, [name], will feel more and more calm,” Ellen says.
Here’s the first step.
Five. “Oh, how lovely,” you say to yourself, and you let go of all your thoughts and listen to the story. Aaah . . .
Four. A lovely relaxing feeling that is even more restful, as your body and thoughts, calm down now.
Three. You’re even more relaxed, [name].
Two. Sleepy and relaxed. Your eyelids are feeling so heavy now.
One. Much more tired than before, which feels nice for Ellen the Elephant and you [yawn]. Zero. So tired now, you can just let sleep come, [name].