Sleepy Beach - a children's bedtime story by Scott Harpole

Sleepy Beach is a children's bedtime story that grew out of trying to put my little kids to sleep. I would trace their eyebrows and eyes and make their forehead the beach that the family played on and slept on that night. Their hair was the woods and their nose was the island. My wife and kids encouraged me to create a book (out of my dozens of stories) but I really can't draw.

So the hunt was on for an illustrator. After a lot of online searching, I found an amazing lady in my own town. But it was shocking how much we had to talk, about each part of the book. I would rather die than have a bland, ordinary book. I despise those kinds of books. I wanted little kids to enjoy the book on a simple level, and wanted older kids to see a sub-text. Multiple pages have a different perspective; one view is toward the woods, one is away from the woods, one is from the side of the island, one is inside the eyeball, one is from the air above the beach. But I also wanted this to be a slight change from bright sunshine to a progressively darker scene, from the beginning to the end of the book, and at the same time I wanted the reader move from fantasy to reality, as they realize that this was a story being told by a Dad as he is putting his boy to sleep.

That was very tough to express! We must have worked through and rejected 4 - 5 dogs until I got the right one. I wanted a dog kids could play with but would not be too hyper and would like the water.
Wow! I never though about a tenth of the questions that the illustrator asked me, like; what are the kids doing in this scene, where is the dog in this picture, what direction is the sunlight, how much should the island look like a nose, how can we make the reader realize that something strange is going on in the book without giving it away to early or by being to cryptic?
I verbally told the stories for years, to my four children and tons of nieces and nephews, but I never thought through these questions. I have a huge admiration for Jill Reed, the illustrator, and for everyone that takes on that role. She told me that her kitchen table was covered with water colored papers for 9 months. I have the original pictures and they are gorgeous! She created multi-layered masterpieces that actually like a 3- D picture that is about 4 - 5 inches above the table.  

I love the result and have heard wonderful praise for the combination of soothing words and gorgeous pictures! This book is intended to hold the attention of the reader and really truly make them feel sleepy or at least peaceful. Sweet Dreams!