A self-published picture book created by a Swedish behavioral scientists that promises to help kids to fall asleep in a record short time has joined Amazon’s bestseller lists on both sides of the Atlantic, eclipsing such hits as Harper Lee’s new novel Go Set a Watchman and Paula Hawkins’s bestselling thriller The Girl on the Train.
The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep – which front cover assures that “I can make anyone fall asleep” – follows Roger the Rabbit as he and his mother set out to visit Uncle Yawn to help him doze off, meeting the Sleepy Snail and the Heavy-Eyed Owl on the way.
Initially published in Swedish by Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin four years ago it was translated into English only a year ago and soon it rocketed to the top of Amazon.co.uk’s charts over the last five days, moving into the top spot over the weekend in both the US and the UK.
“After massive feedback from parents all over the world, it’s safe to say that The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep is a quick and guaranteed way to help your child relax in the evening or during a nap,” says its description. “No need for How-to skills, it’s as easy and simple as reading a normal bedtime story with [an] improved language pattern that will help your child to relax and fall asleep.”
When reading a book parents are asked to yawn frequently, emphasise certain words and speak in a slow and calm manner. Although it has pictures, children are asked to just listen rather than read.
Forssen Ehrlin said it was ‘the verbal equivalent of rocking a baby to sleep’ and hundreds of online reviews from parents claim it has revolutionised bedtimes.
“I had written books before about leadership and personal development using these techniques but I got the idea for a children’s book while I was driving on a long journey with my mother and she fell asleep and I got the idea of how I could use my methods to help children relax” he said.
“When we stopped I wrote it all down on a napkin but it took another three and a half years to come up with the perfect story so that all the techniques were used in the correct order. It helps the child to focus and makes them a part of the story so that they fall asleep along with the rabbit. They meet characters like Uncle Yawn and the Heavy-Eyed Owl.”.
The reaction from other parents has been equally positive.
“I’m actually speechless!” one parent wrote on Amazon. “I’m sat here waiting for someone to pinch me. Bedtime just went from taking 2-3 hours to taking 12mins. We made it to the middle of page 2.”
Another said: “Had my boy yawning in about three minutes and fast asleep in 10.”
Alison Forrestal, Director of Books and Entertainment Media, Amazon UK said: “This book has been a word of mouth phenomenon. Carl-Johan took the opportunity to independently publish and has now reached parents and children all over the UK.”
“This is the first time an independent author has taken the number one position in our print books chart and ‘The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep’ is currently outselling big releases like The Girl on a Train and Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman. It’s a great achievement and we, like many families across the UK, hope there are many more books to come.”