~posted by Ruth

SleepingWhile You Were Sleeping:  Fun Facts That Happen at Night by Steve Murray and Matthew Murrie, illustrated by Tom Bloom

“News flash!  The human brain does NOT turn off when we go to bed at night.”  With that lead, the authors frame and answer a multitude of fascinating questions about what our brain–nearly as active at night when we’re sleeping as when we’re awake–does at night.  The first section on the human body tells us what happens to our skin, heart , and other organs while we’re sleeping, and we get to learn fascinating trivia along the way.  For example, your toe and fingernail growth slow down while you’re sleeping. . .and did you know that the nails on your dominant hand grow faster than on your other hand?

Enough about humans, what about sleep and animals?  Did you know the armadillo gets 16 hours of sleep a night?  Or that the vampire flying frog changes color from a dull tan during the day to a bright red at night?

Other tidbits from the pages on Nature:  Since the earth’s surface never sleeps, “you don’t wake up in the same place you went to sleep.”  Would you be willing to stay up all night to see the blooming cereus cactus, which blooms on only one night a year, and by the time the sun comes up, its flowers have withered away?

I love the section on space, with information on things I never thought wonder about.    Like where does sunlight go when you go to bed?  Which planet would be the worst one to fly a kite–and why would it need to be at night?

All this and more, with short humorous descriptions on all kinds of interesting facts that make you want to know more about what happens after dark.  And the authors and illustrator manage to fit in lots more as side-notes, additional thoughts, and pictures sure to grab the attention of tweens and early adolescents.  I must admit, I was hooked, too.  A great resource especially for  non-fiction loving young readers in your life.


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