How can you get kids to fall asleep? Since time immemorial, parents have told kids to “count sheep” to lull them to sleep. But why are sheep so inherently sleep-inducing? Are all sheep boring to the point of making you fall asleep?
For former Saturday Night Live cast member Bobby Moynihan, the answer is no...not all sheep are boring, except that they kind of are? His new picture book — Not All Sheep Are Boring, with illustrations from Julie Rowan-Zoch — hit bookstores this Fall. If you’re looking for a new book for your bedtime routine, Moynihan has cracked the impossible task of all great kids' picture books: This picture book is both familiar and unique.
Moynihan is the father of one five-year-old girl but says that Not All Sheep Are Boring is great for kids much younger. After all, getting small children to focus on sleep is the only path to freedom for so many parents. Fatherly caught up with Moynihan to briefly chat about his new book, the kids’ books he used as inspiration, and why his time on SNL already feels retro.
What is Not All Sheep Are Boring?
It’s just a silly fun story about different kinds of sheep and how unique sheep can be. But then, the joke is that even though they can use jet packs and they love pickles, they're still kind of boring and they still make you fall asleep.
Were there any picture books that were touchstones for you in writing this?
I really remember reading Richard Scarry every night before I went to bed as a kid, The Please And Thank You Book. And the last line of the book was, "Wait a minute, I got to get a glass of water". And I could not go to bed without getting to that line.
I loved The Monster at the End of the Book. And for new ones, I really love all of B.J. Novak’s kids’ books.
You’re a funny guy. Does your daughter think you’re funny though?
I like to think so. I think she's funny. She's just started stealing my bits. My wife says she's just turning into a mix of me and my wife and me. My wife are both performers and we’re like, woof, we're in trouble with this one! She's fantastic. She's hilarious. She's great. She has bits. She has a character called “Crazy Shopper.” She says: “I want to play Crazy Shopper.” And then I have to go to the other side of the room and pretend I've just opened my store. The second I open the door, she just bum rush tackles me screaming and starts throwing everything in the room around and then runs out and screams “crazy shopper!”
For a certain generation of people, your era of Saturday Night Live suddenly feels...retro? Is it weird we’re having nostalgia for your SNL era?
For the first time since I've left SNL, I can truly enjoy what it was. Now I can be like, wow, that was my life's dream and I got to do it! When you say something like that, it makes me go, Yeah, that was awesome. That was really cool that I got to do that. And I love it and I feel very proud of it now.
But, if were to have asked me a couple of years ago, I would have been like “huh? what? what’s happening?” I was still very much in it. But now, I’ve had some time to step away and get a couple of naps in.
Not All Sheep Are Boring is in bookstores now and available for purchase online, too.