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Beasts at Bedtime


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About the Author

Liam Heneghan is professor and chair of environmental science and studies at DePaul University. He is a Dubliner, an occasional poet, a tin whistle player, and a father of two grown children to whom he read every night of their early years.


"Beasts at Bedtime is so rich in intent and achievement, its short chapters so densely packed and the whole book so stimulating and timely."-- "Dublin Review of Books"
"Beasts at Bedtime is a book that tells us about who we are; those of us that tell our children these stories as a way of shaping their experience; those of us that were, perhaps, shaped by them as well. It is a book about parenting . . . because it shows us how to draw out the ecological shading of these stories in the conversations we have with children (and indeed, with ourselves) about them."-- "3 Quarks Daily"
"Beasts at Bedtime combines a reflective passion for nature, and a close naturalist's eye, with a genuine and gentle wisdom. . . . The book is informed by eco-theory throughout, but always maintains a lightness of touch, and is never saddled by over-formality."-- "Irish Times"
"Beasts at Bedtime is a thoroughly delightful read, informative and genuinely interdisciplinary. . . . Heneghan integrates accounts of his own childhood reading and treks into the wild. His voice is that of a Renaissance man, equally at home discussing Hieronymus Bosch and grasses, ground beetles, and hedgehogs. His prose is lovely. This book will be useful to librarians, environmentalists, teachers, children's literature scholars, and, of course, parents. Essential."-- "CHOICE"
"Beasts at Bedtime [surveys] classics of children's literature with a wonder that is fresh and palpable. . . . Seeing familiar texts through the eyes of an environmental biologist proves fascinating. . . . This is a book for bedtime, roaming associatively through memory and reflecting on the important role played by children's books in shaping adults with an empathetic interest in the natural world."-- "Times Higher Education"
"[Heneghan] has learned over the years that the parent doesn't need to choose explicitly environmentally themed books in order to pass on a love for the natural world to their kids. In fact, some of the most common books to be found in children's bedrooms can do the job perfectly. In Beasts at Bedtime, he takes a look at books like Doctor Dolittle and Peter Rabbit, to see what they teach us about the natural world."-- "The Journal"
"Don't put this book down or click it away. Stunningly scholarly yet also moving and magical, Beasts at Bedtime is a brilliant treatise and true ideological work. What you are holding is a permission and a chance to read stories in a way that was previously closed off to adults. Thank you, Liam Heneghan, for doing your bit for the rest of us--human and nonhuman alike--unlike and in between."-- "Timothy Morton, author of Humankind: Solidarity with Non-Human People"
"For many of us, the beauty and splendour of the natural world seem to fade with the passage of time. . . Beasts at Bedtime [inspires] adults themselves to rediscover the wonder of their own childhood reading.-- "Times Literary Supplement"
"This is a beautifully written, personal, and evocative book about children's literature and the fostering of an environmental sensibility through acts of reading with the child. There is a genuinely musical, almost mystical quality to Heneghan's writing. Deeply felt and voiced by a highly personalized narrative persona, Beasts at Bedtime reads, at times, like a nighttime tale to a child; at times, like a comforting set of adages to a confused adult; at times, like a TED talk."-- "Seth Lerer, author of Children's Literature: A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter"
"Today's children will face huge environmental challenges, from climate change to oceanic pollution. In Beasts at Bedtime, ecologist Heneghan argues that books can help children deal with these grim eventualities. . . . Story has the power to develop empathy and build knowledge, as well as nurture curiosity and imagination. Childhood reading is undeniably formative, and it's refreshing to see it being taken seriously. Children's books alone cannot save the natural world; but they can spark concern, teach the science and reveal strategies in ways both subtle and direct."-- "Nature"
"We all know that nature plays a central role in many children's classics. . . [Heneghan] wrote this book to help parents 'excavate the green content' from bedtime reading. Beasts at Bedtime is proof that most kidlit has teachable moments embedded in it."-- "The Toronto Star"

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