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Alex and the Sleep Monster

A beautifully illustrated and rhyming bedtime story introducing "The Sleep Monster" who is good and needs the help of all children.

Young Alex is full of questions about sleep. Why does he need it? How does sand get in his eyes? Where does the sun go at night? Alex's father reveals to him a great secret: a massive and friendly "Sleep Monster" who is responsible for much more than Alex could have ever imagined! A new bedside fairy tale for children to believe in - Alex and the Sleep Monster.

Alex and the Sleep Monster

Once upon a time, so most stories begin. This story's not different, and it happened back when young Alex, a boy, was only 4 years old. A vast imagination, worth much more than gold.

Late one night, when his brother made a "peep", it was then that he asked, "why do children sleep?". "THE SLEEP MONSTER", his daddy hastily said, recounting this tale in his big bunk bed.

When the Earth began, the Sleep Monster was there. He was nice, he was good, and did not wish to scare. Long before any dinosaur ever gave birth, the Sleep Monster walked, slowly turning the Earth. His feet are like pillows as big as the sea. He feeds on children's boundless energy. If he ever stopped spinning our big blue world, sunlight would burn him, and to space we'd be hurled. So when you grow tired, eyes heavy with sleep, listen for his footsteps as they hugely creep. When he steps on you it's soft like warm ice-cream. His big pillowed feet leave a nice, happy dream.

"But daddy", said Alex, struggling to understand, "Why is it when I wake my eyes are full of sand?". Because, "said daddy with big fatherly motions, "his feet are full of sand from walking on oceans!". "Of course", thought Alex -now it all made more sense- "I'm glad his feet are feather-soft and not dense. Does everyone know this but me?", Alex said from his bed. "It's a secret", daddy whispered, and then slowly said, "when the Tooth-Fairy takes your last baby tooth, knowledge of all monsters vanishes with a poof!".

"If that's true", said Alex, "Why do you still know?". "Because son", daddy said, opening his mouth to show... Looking inside his daddy's mouth -dark and red- "I see a baby tooth, daddy!", Alex anxiously said. "Shhh", hushed his daddy while cupping his ear, "Here he comes!" were the last words Alex could hear.

So remember this story. Hide it somewhere as proof. You'll forget when you lose your last baby tooth. The next time your parents say, "it's time for bed", remember the Sleep Monster and keep him well fed.

The end.

Note: This story is written like a poem, so the order of the sentence is not always the standard S+V+C.

ONCE UPON A TIME= A long time ago, at an indefinite time. This old fashioned expression is commonly used still today as the beginning of a tale.

SO MOST STORIES BEGIN= This is the way most stories begin. Here, SO means "thus; this way; like this".

BACK WHEN= At a time in the past when...

VAST= Huge, enormous, immense, very very big.

WORTH= /wɜ:*θ/ Equal in value to...
- It's worth €2 = the value of that is €2.
- Your company is worth a million dollars = The value of your company is very big / I very much appreciate your company.
- She is worth all my love and devotion = She deserves all my love and devotion.

MADE A PEEP= (baby talk) Fell asleep.

HASTILY= Quickly.

RECOUNTING= Telling an old story.

BUNK (BED)= A bed with two levels, that is, two beds one on top of the other. (see picture)

THE EARTH= Our planet (often spelled with a capital letter but not always).

SCARE= /skeə*/ Make people afraid.

DINOSAUR= /dnəsɔ:/

TURNING THE EARTH= Making the Earth turn round. The Sleep Monster is so big that when he walks, our planet moves, turning around. So the rotation movement of the Earth creating day and night is caused by the Sleep Monster walking.

PILLOW= The soft thing where you rest your head in bed while sleeping. (see picture)

FEEDS ON= If you feed on something, you usually eat that.
- Sheep feed on grass
- Lions feed on gazelles and other animals
- People can feed on almost everything
- Most birds feed on seeds


BOUNDLESS= Without limits, endless.

SPIN= To rotate quickly around its axis (like when you spin a coin, or the movement of the Earth creating day and night).

HURLED= To hurl is to throw away with great force.

YOU GROW TIRED= You become exhausted, you get tired.

FOOTSTEPS= The marks of our foot on the ground as we're walking, or the sound our feet make as we walk.

HUGELY= In a huge way/manner. HUGE means: immense, enormous, very very big.

CREEP= To walk or move slowly, usually without making a sound.

TO STEP ON= If you step on something, you put your foot on it (usually while you are walking).

PILLOWED FEET= Feet soft like a pillow (see above) or feet that have something soft under them.

STRUGGLING= Fighting; trying hard; making a big effort.

MY EYES ARE FULL OF SAND= When we wake up in the morning (especially children) our eyes are dry and we have something in our eyes which receives different names:
- In BrE and AmE the nice word is SLEEP (e.g. "I've got sleep in my eyes") or, less commonly, RHEUM (pronounced /ru:m/).
- If it is dry (in the corners of our eyes) people usually call it CRUST or MATTER (e.g. "You have matter in your eye").
- If you think it's gross and disgusting you can call it YUCK or BOOGER (e.g. "come on, wash your face, you have booger in your eyes")
- In AmE many people call it SAND, because they say that it is sand that the SANDMAN puts into our eyes in the night. Traditionally he is a character in many children's stories, invoked to help children to sleep. He is said to sprinkle sand or dust on or into the eyes of the child at night to bring on dreams and sleep. But in this story, we have a slightly different version of that character.

FATHERLY= (adj.) Showing the affection of a father.

MOTIONS= Gestures made with the hand or arms.

IT ALL MADE MORE SENSE= Everything was easier to understand. If something MAKES SENSE, you can understand it, it's rational, logical or explainable.

FEATHER-SOFT= Soft as a feather. A FEATHER /feðə*/ is every one of the fluffy things covering the body of a bird. Many pillows are filled with feathers. (see picture)

DENSE= Solid.

BUT ME?= Except me?

WHISPERED= Said in a very soft voice.

TOOTH-FAIRY= A Fairy /frɪ/ is a magical woman with wings (from Celtic folklore). The Tooth Fairy is a fairy that gives a child money or gifts in exchange for a baby tooth that has fallen out. Children typically place the tooth under their pillow at night. The fairy is said to take the tooth from under the pillow and replace it with money once they have fallen asleep.

BABY TOOTH= (or primary tooth) The first teeth we have are baby tooth, and then, when we are about 5 or 6 years old, they start falling out and are replaced by PERMANENT TEETH, which last forever (well, not so much).

KNOWLEDGE= Specific information about something.

VANISHES= Disappears.

WITH A POOF!= (onomatopoeia) A "poof" is supposed to be the sound something makes when it disappears.

ANXIOUSLY= With excitement.

HUSHED= (past of HUSH). To hush is to ask someone to be quiet, to stop talking. In this context, the sentence "'Shhh', hushed his daddy" means: his daddy asked him to be quiet by saying "shhh". Notice the inversion here. This inversion is common when we use a verb of saying after the things said (formal English):
- "hello", said Mary = Mary said "hello"
- "Go away", shouted he = He shouted "go away"

CUPPING HIS EAR= If you cup your ear you put a hand behind your ear and hollow it a bit, so that you can hear better. (see picture)

A PROOF= An evidence that shows that something is true.

KEEP HIM WELL FED= Make sure you give him enough food to be healthy. (feed-fed-fed = give food)

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