Book of the Week: Ira Sleeps Over

September 14, 2010

Stephanie and Betsy recommended Ira Sleeps Over to me and I’ve become a Bernard Waber groupie. It’s a really sweet story of Ira and his first sleepover. Should he bring his teddy bear? Will he be embarrassed if he brings his teddy bear?

As a kid, I loved getting to sleepover. But as a parent, turns out I’m not such a big fan. What’s your take on sleepovers?

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Camille September 14, 2010 at 11:24 am

I love this story. I remember reading it as a kid, but haven’t picked it up since. I will have to get it and share it with my kids. Thanks for the time travel :)


2 artfulife September 14, 2010 at 11:25 am

We allow our oldest to stay until 11pm and then we pick her up. We will do the same with our others. I remember too many inappropriate things that went on at sleepovers when I was little. Parents would go to bed and the mayhem would begin. Don’t want to put my child in questionable situations.


3 Wendy September 14, 2010 at 11:36 am

We only allow sleepovers with cousins. We’ve just made that a blanket rule. (no pun intended!) My son begs but it’s easier for him to just tell others our rule. I remember loving sleepovers but was also the victim of something that shouldn’t have happened to a kid at a sleepover. Better to avoid that possibility for my kids.


4 Val September 14, 2010 at 11:44 am

We only do cousins or other close families that believe in the same things that we do. I don’t want my kids to ever go into a home where I won’t already know what they will be seeing.

I love this book too! :)


5 Michelle September 14, 2010 at 11:50 am

Any kind of mayhem can happen just as easily before 11pm as it can after. Sleepovers and the strange things that happen at them are part of being a kid. I wasn’t allowed to go to many sleepovers when I was in high school, and being denied the opportunity to hang out with my friends made be feel very left out and angry with my parents. The sleepovers I went to before high school involved a lot of staying up super late and running around doing silly things involving food concoctions and games, and some typical things that happen if you fall asleep first, but that is part of being a kid…


6 naomi September 14, 2010 at 11:53 am

We LOVE this one – read it many, many times.

I can’t tell you how glad I am to hear that others feel the same way as I do about sleepovers! I might feel differently when they are older and can look out for themselves, but as others said, I am not at all comfortable putting them in that situation with anyone except my family and perhaps a couple of VERY close friends.


7 Anne September 14, 2010 at 11:58 am

Kids and parents (ok maybe just me) do better with sleep so our family doesn’t do sleepovers, just lots of late-nights and then kids sleep in their own beds. I’ve been surprised how uncontroversial our family rule has been.


8 Amanda Joy September 14, 2010 at 12:02 pm

I haven’t ever read the book. I will have to check it out.

Our kids are still so little (3, 1.5) but we already have a game plan. Kids can sleep over at our house, but our kids will not sleep over at others. Some things happened to my SIL’s friends at a sleep over, that never should have happened. By removing the option at sleeping at someone else’s house, that protection is already set up. We want our house to be the fun party house, with set rules. It is a controlled independence. They get their fun, but we know where they are and what they are doing.

I would much rather my kids be into playing night games like I did growing up.


9 amelia September 14, 2010 at 12:11 pm

My kids are still pretty young (4 is the oldest) but we already have a cousins rule planned. I’d like to think that we live in a perfect world but really its not and kids can have a lot happen to them in one night. Quite frankly, its not just a cousins rule we even have specific cousins…so I guess, its more a case by case basis for us.


10 Ana September 14, 2010 at 12:16 pm

I used to love sleeping over at my friends’ houses when I was a kid and never had any negative experiences. I let my kids sleep over with cousins, of course, and at close friend’s houses. By that, I mean that we know the parents very well and know that they share our views and rules. I don’t let them have sleepovers with people we don’t know well. My kids LOVE sleepovers, to them it’s a big adventure, and I feel I shouldn’t deprive them of that experience.


11 meg duerksen September 14, 2010 at 12:16 pm

i like when my kids can have sleep overs at our house….so i can supervise.
and i like when we have trustworthy friends that they can go to their house. what i don’t like….the CRANKY moods they are in no matter what when they come home.
it always feels like you are being punished for wanting some time to yourself the night before. :)


12 Kate Reymann September 14, 2010 at 1:04 pm

I love love love this book so much! I somehow didn’t end up with our old copy from childhood when my sisters and I did the Great Books-From-Our-Childhood-Divying-Up party a few months ago so I just ordered a new copy, which comes with a CD. I cannot wait to share it with my kiddo who is almost two so a few years away from slumber parties.

I loved slumber parties as a kid but I a) was always the first one awake and had to pretend to be sleeping for ages and b) never had a cool sleeping bag. Mine was a down mustardy green (so I was always overheating as well) not an awesome pink Hello Kitty one. Ah well, I survived. Barely.


13 Marissa September 14, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Sometimes my parents didn’t allow me…and sometimes they did. We won’t do them with our kids. When they are adults, better judges of character and better at deciphering influences, they can choose to have over whoever they want. :P Until then, I try and let her go over and then pick her up. I think it’s a really great time to talk and “build” that ability to judge character and influences. Sheltering is ok in my book…so long as they are intelligent, independent and moral along with the sheltered.


14 Lynnette September 14, 2010 at 1:56 pm

I’m so glad you made this book of the week! I loved this book as a kid – used to check it out of the school library a lot – and had completely forgotten about it until I saw it here today.

I’m with you; I loved sleepovers as a kid but as a parent they worry me. My kids aren’t old enough yet, but I’m considering a cousins-only rule!


15 Julie D. September 14, 2010 at 2:02 pm

We only allow sleepovers if we get to come along. So we don’t even send our kids to a cousin’s house. Grandma’s house is the only exception. We’ve had late-night parties, though, with kids coming in pajamas and watching a movie. Almost every other parent I’ve talked to has the same position about not allowing sleepovers, unless it’s with close family members. (Even then…I had a cousin whose uncle abused her when he was a teenager, so not even family is safe from those kinds of situations.) Anyway, it’s nice to be one of the crowd on this one. It makes enforcing the rule much easier when other parents are on board.


16 bryssy September 14, 2010 at 2:03 pm

I still have my childhood copy of this book and my kids love it. However, we aren’t quite to the sleepover stage yet. Maybe in another year or so – staying at Grammy’s house is hard enough!


17 Inha September 14, 2010 at 2:13 pm

One of my favorites as a teacher and a mom! If you can get your hands on the audio, I promise you won’t be disappointed!


18 Adventures In Babywearing September 14, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Gabrielle, I am so glad you like it! My favorite. And I’m not sure if I told you this but when I posted about my Bernard Waber finds on ebay, Bernard’s daughter Paulis actually commented on my blog saying she’d read my post to her dad and he was touched. !!!!!!!!!!!

A geeky dream come true for me.

PS we don’t do sleepovers – I feel like my kids have each other- they really have sleepovers EVERY night with their siblings! I might be more open to having a friend come here, but we aren’t open to our kids going to other kids’ houses at this time.



19 sarah September 14, 2010 at 3:41 pm

no sleepovers for our kids, but the book looks cute.


20 Heather September 14, 2010 at 4:19 pm

We decided to opt out of sleepovers. Instead we have “lateovers”. The kids like them and we feel like it’s the right choice for our family.


21 Angela September 14, 2010 at 4:36 pm

i’m torn… when our kids were toddlers, we said that we wouldn’t do them at all. now that i have a 9 and 7 year old, i’ve loosened my stance, just a bit. overnights with close friends (only parents that we know very well) with just one friend are okay. slumber parties are another thing. you may know the parents, but you don’t always know all the other kids and in my experience, that’s where the trouble can begin.

we will do slumber parties on a case-by-case basis only (to date, my 9 year old has only gone to 2 – both at the same house and my 7 year old hasn’t gone to one at all). if we decide to opt out, we skip it altogether and do something special. it’s much harder for them to leave, knowing that “everyone else gets to stay, mom!”


22 kirsten bingham September 14, 2010 at 7:47 pm

thank you for bringing this story back into my life! i must buy it for daphne, it was one of my favorites growing up.


23 Shauna September 14, 2010 at 8:20 pm

Not a fan of sleepovers or slumber parties regardless of age.
This was not an issue when I raised my now-grown sons, but with two teen aged daughters, we had to take a stand as the question of sleepovers comes up constantly.
Sometimes we have “half” sleepovers that end at 11pm.
I especially dont like the idea of sleepovers when there are teenage brothers or fathers at home so we just decided to say no to all rather than pick and choose.


24 Karin September 14, 2010 at 9:22 pm

We used to have that book growing up, but I haven’t seen it since. I will have to go find it. Very sweet story!

I’m glad to read that most people DON’T do sleepovers. It makes it nice to have other parents’ support in the matter. We have allowed our kids to have sleepovers when it’s a very close friend or family member that we know well. But regardless, they are always tired and grumpy the next day!


25 Kristin September 14, 2010 at 10:28 pm

So glad to see that I’m not alone on our family sleepover policy. No sleepovers, here or there, period. Late nights, sure. Stay at the party until it’s bedtime, sure. My kids accept it as law now and don’t even fight it.

The policy began when we felt uncomfortable with not knowing the other parents or questioning the neighborhood, etc. and it was easier to say no to everyone than to pick and choose and play favorites.


26 Sharon September 14, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Oh, great… Now I’m worried about sleep overs! I think I tend to believe the best of people! My 7 year-old has done a sleep over at two friends’ homes so far, but I do know the parents fairly well.. My daughter is going to do her first one (other than cousins and grandparents) at her bestie’s house, and I know her parents very well, too. As they get older, the risks do increase of ‘group think’, etc. This would be a really tough one b/c around here EVERYONE does sleep overs all the time at each others house. Of course it doesn’t means that there aren’t risks now. Oy. I guess my husband and I need to chat.

All I meant to say was that I really, really love this book and so does my 7-year-old son who has a really strong attachment to a little blanket and a couple of stuffed animals.


27 claire September 15, 2010 at 9:35 am

I love letting my daughter have sleepovers. But since I only have one child and I only let her invite one girl over at a time its not too stressful. I do always worry about the dreaded midnight “I want to go home” cry, but so far thats never happened!


28 claire September 15, 2010 at 10:09 am

oh, this is one of my very, very favorites! i never loved sleepovers as a kid. i’m sure i’ll like them less once my baby grows up to have her own.


29 barchbo September 15, 2010 at 10:39 am

So glad you love Ira! He’s so lovable and I love to give him as a present to my younger friends.

I didn’t usually want to spend the night at the homes of people I didn’t know well, so it wasn’t an issue. I was never allowed to spend the night at the homes of people who weren’t family or close friends and my parents even had to know the other parents – in high school! Tres embarrassing.

In reality, the “sleepover” is a relatively recent convention and it seems from reading the comments here that it is dying pretty quickly. So maybe it was an ill-conceived idea, or one whose time has come and gone – perhaps in a few years it won’t be much of a discussion point at all. When you think about it, why would you want someone to sleep at your house if he or she has a perfectly good bedroom nearby? It seems a little weird.


30 Lisa in TX September 15, 2010 at 11:01 am

We don’t do sleep overs either, unless it’s at a relatives house (usually cousins) and we are visiting them.


31 Ann September 15, 2010 at 11:26 am

This made me laugh. I find sleepovers to be as much work as birthday parties and It takes forever for them to go to sleep! Sheesh.


32 Sara September 15, 2010 at 9:15 pm

I still have my copy of this book from when I was a girl – it is still one of my favorites. I love getting it out to read to the kids!


33 Fab September 16, 2010 at 3:45 pm

This ws one of my favorite books as a kid! Partly because of the hilarious way my mother read the book to us! I also memorized the book for a 4th grade storytelling class. So funny, good memories!


34 Lydia September 16, 2010 at 7:02 pm

I remember when I was a kid we got this out from the library and LOVED it. We always got a kick out of the repeated line, “He’ll laugh!” To this day it still pops up in family conversation, even though we are all well into our 20′s and 30′s.


35 Rachel September 17, 2010 at 4:19 pm

I will allow sleepovers at our house, and at the houses of people we know very well. I’m not *entirely* comfortable, but I can’t deny my kids of a huge part of growing up and having friends. Maybe it wasn’t huge for everyone, but it was for me. We did sleepovers pretty much every weekend, all weekend, from the time I was 10 or so on. Nothing too fishy happened that wouldn’t have found a way to happen anyway(Underage drinking? A bit. No abuse though). I’m not that morally strict though.


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