Go the Fuck to Sleep: a storybook for exhausted parents


This is going to be my default gift for my friends who have kids.

Go the Fuck To Sleep is a bedtime book for parents who live in the real world, where a few snoozing kitties and cutesy rhymes don't always send a toddler sailing off to dreamland. Honest, profane, and affectionate, Adam Mansbach's verses and Ricardo Cortés' illustrations perfectly capture the familiar--and unspoken--tribulations of putting your little angel down for the night, and open up a conversation about parenting in the process. Beautiful, subversive, and pants-wettingly funny, Go the Fuck to Sleep is a perfect gift for parents new, old, or expectant. Here is a sample verse:

The cats nestle close to their kittens now.
The lambs have laid down with the sheep.
You're cozy and warm in your bed, my dear
Please go the fuck to sleep.

Go the Fuck to Sleep


    1. Thats what I do now and i’m in my 20s. Except substitute the laudanum (since its not made anymore) with something a little stronger :)

  1. I hope there is something more subversive than the casual use of fuck in a childrens book. Sadly its darn near impossible to avoid kids hearing all sorts of things that as a parent you might not want them exposed to.

      1. Perhaps the phrase subversive should not be in the description then.
        “Beautiful, subversive, and pants-wettingly funny,”

        It also may help to not include language from reviews like
        This is the most honest children’s book ever written. And it’s f*cking hilarious.” Or
        “Adam Mansbach’s daughter Vivien is two and a half.””This is his first children’s book. You probably should not read it to actual children, and if you do, he cannot be held legally responsible.”

        I get the joke, I get the concept, I’m sure it’s funny, it is still a terrible description.

    1. You’re not supposed to read this book full of foul language to your children; you’re supposed to hit them upside the head with it when they don’t go the fuck to sleep.

      1. LMAO!!!!!!! i have two non sleepers. i haven’t slept a wink in nearly three years. mwah ha ha ha ha……. (if you can’t laugh, people, what are you GOING TO DO!???)

      1. See Flying Monkey above. The book sounds like a funny idea. I have little kids, rarely does a night go by that that I am not thankful that the little monsters are finally asleep.
        The description calls it subversive. I was hoping there was something more subversive than just using the work fuck in the title of a not childrens book.

        That is all

  2. Perhaps an appropriate joke gift for some, but honestly I would hate receiving this as a gift, however funny and/or unexpected it’s prose may initially be.

    1. Bless your heart. I think you are officially the last person on the planet that knows how to properly use that word…and if you really don’t then not to worry…no one else will know any better. :-)

  3. I approve of this book; it probably appeals to many parents at their wits’ end when their toddler is admantly awake at 10:00 p.m. That doesn’t mean you should read it to your toddler. Use common sense please, folks.

    1. Really? “Common sense” now lets you prescribe what words I can read to my children? Of all the places on the internet, I’d think boingboing would recognize that upper-white-class America’s definition of “foul language” is arbitrary and ridiculous. I’d much rather have my kids hear and say “fuck” a thousand times than go to school and be pressured to swear loyalty to a nationalist symbol every morning, or hear the president insist he truly believes in the invisible magic sky person who wants to torture us for eternity. But I don’t get to claim that as common sense, do I?

      1. I think I love you. You are the only other person I have heard express these beautiful words/thoughts. Btw, I live in the deep south where “common sense” is all about the invisible magic person and patriotism. FML

      2. I TOTALLY agree. Honestly, its just a word. Why does everyone get their panties in a wad? I don’t like when people can’t speak without using “the ‘f’ word” as every 3rd word. But why does it bother people so much?

    2. @TheMadLibrarian: 10 PM? Try 1 AM. I have 3 kids, 8, 5, and 2. Each one has or has had problems falling asleep and staying asleep. I haven’t had a full 8 hours’ snooze since I don’t know when. I’d have gone mad years ago if it weren’t for my close personal relationship with my collection of singing potatoes. :-)

      But yes, this is definitely a book for the grownups. I’m buying one as soon as it comes out.

  4. I’d much rather have my kids hear and say “fuck” a thousand times than go to school and be pressured to swear loyalty to a nationalist symbol every morning…

    But that’s the beauty of modern culture: you can have both!

    You can have it all, baby.

  5. Not available until Oct. 11! Everyone will have heard about it and be over the joke by then. This would make a good e-book — read it once, laugh, wet your pants and file it away on your hard drive, away from the kids, no trees killed.

    1. Agreed. Why promote it now, six months before it’s out? You had me all excited I could cross off the “funny gift” checkbox for Mother’s Day.

      This is useless to my interests.

  6. another funny “kids” book is “That’s not your Mommy anymore” by Matt Mogk for teaching kids to deal with the zombie apocalypse…I’m surprised this book was posted here first.

    1. Oh I’m so glad there are books out there to warn our next generation of the impending Zombie threat! My husband will be so pleased!

      I currently have three “darling” offspring. One is 4 and refuses to sleep at a normal bed time then starts the day at 5am. I have a 3yr old who starts the day bang on 6.15 (I can set my watch to him) and a 8mth old who wakes 3 times a night. GO the FUCK to sleep alright!!!!

      And all of you with no sense of humour and total political correctness stupidity – good on ya this is the reason my kids are nuts they can’t even use a see-saw cause THEY DON’T exist anymore!!!

  7. Now, now, y’all don’t be fussin’. Th’ man’s just sayin’ wha’ evra parent with a toddler is thinkin’.

    Srsly – until you have a kid, and have memorised no fewer than five children’s books and can work “Goodnight Moon” into the ending of every one, and know at exactly what angle to hold the child at while jogging your leg at exactly which frequency and exactly where to pat their butt, have donned a shirt that hasn’t been washed in weeks because the child falls sleepy from the scent, or spent 45 minutes restraining a child whilst simultaneously listening to NOAA weather radio with them – because it’s the only damned thing that works, you won’t get the funny. After, well — let’s just say the psychotic giggling never goes away so you may as well enjoy it.

    1. oh, so true, so TRUE. obviously the book is not out yet, but your comment made me laugh like crazy. i think i’m wheezing now.

  8. I am sure I am not the only one who is getting really bored of people who think that putting ‘fuck’ or ‘shit’ in the title of books consitutes being subversive. Come on, this is the foul-mouthed mainstream. It’s not hip. It’s not even interesting. It’s just dull and lazy. IMHO, of course.

    Oh yeah, and it’s not because I worry about my kids hearing ‘bad things’ – I don’t have such a prissy attitude.

    I can also understand why other people might relate to the kind of stree-relief this book provides. I don’t want to censor or proscribe things.

    However, not every parent with a toddler is thinking this. I really don’t think about my little boy in this way that you would have to to want to read this, nor would I want to start. He’s beautiful, he’s the joy of my life, and even the difficult bits are worth every second. Why would I want to belittle this fantastic relationship now. He’s going to be a teenager one day: there’s going to be enough of this then to be sure!

  9. I had the collicky baby from hell. She NEVER slept! I mean NEVER. The words that came out of my mouth were horrible, but the torture I endured was life altering. Yes, sleep deprivation is torture.

    If someone had given me this book I would have loved it. I can’t wait until my brother has kids. He’d get humor in this. I will be giving this as a gift.

    1. This book seems to be more for moms. For the first time since my son was born 2 years ago, I’m getting to sleep through the night on a semi-regular (ie- more frequently than 2 nights every 6 weeks) basis. During the worst of it, oddly only a couple months ago, when I was getting up as many as four times a night, this book would’ve provided a welcome bit of comic relief.

      If Flying Monkey can’t see the humor in this book then HE isn’t the one getting up in the middle of the night for *years* on end.

  10. @ FlyingMonkey and Phomancho, let’s assume the publisher is responsible for the descriptive comments and not the author. And let’s assume the author was just trying to write a book that he thought would appeal to parents like him. Because I’m assuming that like me he often says to his partner or to himself, “Whhhhyyyyyy won’t they just go the fuck to sleep”. Now that I have a four and a half year old i’m waiting for the book, ‘Shut the fuck up!!’

    If you think “it’s not hip. It’s not even interesting. It’s just dull and lazy”, then you’re just not the target market. And that’s cool.

  11. To be followed by ‘Eat Your Fucking Dinner’, ‘What the Fuck Are You Whining About?’, and ‘Stop Fucking With That’.

  12. Who is the publisher of this book? I am just curious as I have a realy mean and funny book about divorce – could be the sequel to this one. A.

  13. @phomancho…give me a break. It’s all in good fun. Let this be the worst thing your kid is exposed to. It’s just a word.

  14. If I catch anybody complaining that this is tired making a comment that says, “Christ, what an asshole”, you’re in deep shit.

  15. Yikes. I’ve been meaning to do something more with “Now Go to Damn Sleep: A Children’s Book for Parents” since I posted it (creative commonsed) in 2004. Apparently it was a good idea, although my execution of it was not hardly likely to be called “genius” by J. Lethem.


    I look forward to reading Adam’s book.

    – David Weinberger

  16. I think anyone who has ever read “Goodnight Moon” for the 34,380,832,493,874th time to an wriggling child at 3 am would appreciate–if not adore–this book. Enough with all the sanctimonious whining, hm? I think it’s genius.

  17. I always love to see the comments by the humorless, politically correct crowd. puleeeeease go find some other serious, brow furrrowing site to have indignation over and leave the fun to the rest of us?

    1. There’s actually a name for this, inspired by the fact that the internet has made it so much more common:

      It’s called “recreational indignation”.

      And it’s proof that there are a whole *lot* of people with way too much free time.

      Course, Usenet proved that, 20 years ago.

  18. i am happy to say that my kids are way ahead of their peers with respect to the proper use of profanity. i don’t arbitrarily pick and choose what they “should” be good at. when they have a talent, they should fuckin’ run with it!

  19. Looks hilarious to me and really, is anyone dumb enough to not realize this is for adults ? oops, never mind, maybe I should warn some people that even though Playboy doesn’t have any curse words in the title, the half naked lady on the front should be an indicator it’s for adults.

  20. Looks awesome. I’ve got it on my wishlist. Reminds me of one of my favourite songs by The Arrogant Worms, called “Go To Sleep Little Leach”. Very funny stuff.

  21. Yeah, but you can still rub your own gums with laudanum or some substitute thereof. (scotch?) This sort of humour, though perhaps too edgy for the faint of heart, is exactly what’s needed to penetrate the fog of guilt and exhaustion familiar to parents of young children. Come on, folks, lighten up! We need some edgy humour to survive the cycle of effort and frustration that characterizes modern parenting.

  22. Oh my goodness! What’s all this fuss about? I have two grown-up children. This book should be compulsory reading to all parents. To have a giggle in stead of murderous thoughts, because if you haven’t been there, please shut the f*ck up!

  23. 10 pm? My youngest wouldn’t got to bed until at least midnight, and insisted on trying to engage me in 2 year old conversations.

    Too many people figure out the mechanics of having children, and can’t figure out the reality of having children. If your kid is awake, you are not making sure they are tired.

  24. To be followed by ‘Eat Your Fucking Dinner’, ‘What the Fuck Are You Whining About?’, and ‘Stop Fucking With That’.

    Best comment ever! Thanks Molly!

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