Tag Archives: Gregory Walton

“Children’s bedtime storybooks are important “, says book retailer and holiday company

The last few weeks have been a curious time in children’s bedtime story news. First off we had the Telegraph and the Independent reporting on the bedtime phenomenon that’s scientifically-designed to send your child to sleep in no time:

Bedtime phenomenon: scientist develops book to send children to sleep in minutes

The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep uses psychological techniques to send children to sleep quickly

For most authors the prospect of their books sending readers to sleep would be horrifying.

But the latest publishing phenomenon which is topping the Amazon charts is a book which promises to do just that, at least for children.

The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep, has been created by Swedish behavioural psychologist and linguist Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin and is currently outselling Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman and Paula Hawkins The Girl on The Train.

Source: Telegraph, 15th August 2015

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The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep: Psychologist develops bedtime book to send children to sleep in minutes

The book has shot to the top of Amazon’s best sellers list after being embraced by parents

Every parent of a young child will be familiar with the daily struggle of trying to coax an energetic child into going to sleep.

A psychologist has claimed that he may finally have the answer to the age old problem and has developed a new book scientifically designed to send children to sleep within minutes.

Since going on sale, The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep has rocketed to the top of Amazon’s best sellers list.

Source: Independent, 15th August 2015

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And of course, by ‘scientifically designed’ we mean put together by a scientist willing to lend his name to a promotional exercise for an international book retailer:

The book was publishes using Amazon’s CreateSpace system.

Alison Forrestal, Director of Books and Entertainment Media, Amazon UK said: “This book has been a word of mouth phenomenon. Carl-Johan took the opportunity to independently publish and has now reached parents and children all over the UK.

“This is the first time an independent author has taken the number one position in our print books chart and ‘The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep’ is currently outselling big releases like The Girl on a Train and Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman. It’s a great achievement and we, like many families across the UK, hope there are many more books to come.”

If that weren’t odd enough, a fortnight later the Daily Mail and the Telegraph (again) ran a follow-up, this time crediting science with having derived the formula for the perfect bedtime story:

Recipe for perfect bedtime story: Ideal tale lasts eight and a half minutes and includes a dragon, a princess, a wizard and a fairy, research reveals

The perfect bedtime story lasts eight-and-a-half minutes and includes a dragon, a princess, a wizard and a fairy, research reveals.

And such knowledge might just come in handy because the survey also found that parents spend a total of one week a year trying to get their children to go to sleep.

While the ideal story lasting eight minutes and 36 seconds might have traditional elements, such as the backdrop of a castle, the hero should carry a thoroughly modern mobile phone as well as a magic wand.

Source: Daily Mail, 28th August 2015

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The secrets of the perfect bedtime story revealed

The ideal bed time story should be just 8.6 minutes long, feature a dragon, a fairy and a wizard and be set in a castle, new research has revealed

Many a parent has melded the literary greats with the themes of Hollywood blockbusters to create bedtime stories to tell their young ones.

But now the formula for the ultimate bedtime tale has been revealed for the first time.

A new study of 2,000 parents and their children has shown that the ideal story should last just 8.6 minutes long.

Source: Telegraph, 27th August 2015

Yet more bedtime science! I’m not sure when the world became awash with experts in the field of children sleeping, but August 2015 will truly go down as a landmark date for great advances in this particularly niche science. Either that or it will be noted for the time that one company jumped on the back of a PR push by another company, and science got taken along for the ride.

So who came up with the recipe for the ‘perfect bedtime story’? We know it wasn’t noted ‘storytelling expert’ Alex Charalambous, who has this to say:

Story-telling expert Alex Charalambous said: “As your child prepares to go back to school after the holidays, it’s a good idea to establish a steady bedtime routine that includes reading a story. As the research shows, the familiarity of a classic tale draws children in and the happy ending makes for a pleasant night’s sleep.

It seems an odd point to start from in bringing up, a propos of nothing, preparation to go back to school after holidays, and the importance of routine. What does that have to do with the perfect bedtime story? Well, as it turns out, everything:

The study, by holiday camp company Butlin’s, as part of their new ‘Just for Tots’ breaks, highlighted how difficult mums and dads find getting their children to sleep when they start school again following the summer break.

This is a PR campaign by Butlin’s – in fact we can see it all over their website.

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What have bedtime routines and bedtime stories got to do with a holiday company like Butlin’s? The answer, of course, is that their ‘Just For Tots’ holiday range includes bedtime stories for your child, all the way through the holidays, so you don’t have to worry about establishing a new post-holiday routine.

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If you think that seems a far-fetched hook for a national news story, let the obligatory spokesperson quote clear things up for you:

Dermot King, managing director of Butlin’s which commissioned the research, added: “With our dedicated Just for Tots breaks we already aim to cater for the under-fives in every way possible, whilst ensuring parents can spend as much time with their children without any added stresses.

“To make sure bedtime is as much of an event as the rest of the day, we’re lending out these clever story boxes on resort, giving parents the tools to engage their little ones fully at bedtime, and ensure they nod off in preparation for another action filled day.”

And that, boys and girls, is how if you wish really hard on the right star you can turn your self-serving advert into national news. Good night.

“People should remember to make a resolution to go to the gym!” says gym chain

At the turn of the year, with people around the country making their traditional New Year’s Resolution, one resolution which was sadly lacking was a pledge from the tabloids to ditch the PR churnalism. Which is a roundabout and clumsy way of introducing this ‘research’ published in the Telegraph (and also paper editions of the Daily Express and The Sun):

Traditional New Year resolutions shunned in favour of reading and saving money

Traditional New Year resolutions such as quitting smoking have been replaced by modern life changes like reading more and saving money, a study has revealed.

New technology and healthier lifestyles mean three quarters of Britons have scrapped “old fashioned” vows relating to smoking, alcohol and exercise.

Current top resolutions are reading more books and saving money, the poll of 2,000 people found.

Source: The Telegraph, 30 December 2012

The article went on to list all of the extravagant new resolutions people are making at the expense of more ‘traditional’ resolutions – with ‘read more books’ topping the list of fancy modern newfangled ways of self-improvement. Bafflingly.

However, what follows is a cautionary tale, reminding us that while we may have all had our heads turned by those shiny new book things, we ought to remember the importance of traditional resolutions – such as losing weight and getting more exercise. These are vital, imperative things to strive for, according to the entirely-impartial company behind the research – gym chain LA Fitness. 

Tony Orme, Marketing Director at LA fitness said: “The traditional resolutions we’re used to hearing or even making ourselves are less prominent this year.

“But it’s important to remember that taking time to exercise and eating a balanced, healthy diet not only give you more energy, but they also help to manage stress levels.”

It’s quite apparent, then, that this is simply a press release to advertise a gym chain at a time when many people tend to vow to get back into shape after a winter of excesses. In fact, the ‘research’ took the form of an online poll run by our friends at 72 Point’s Onepoll, who show the press release in full on their website.

If the quote from Tony Orme weren’t enough to convince the reader of the importance of using the service that Tony Orme sells, there are plenty of other subtle clues, such as:

The biggest aims Britons shared were to feel physically fitter, followed by less stress, and feeling happier and more secure overall.

Two thirds aim to improve their fitness in the coming year and improve their body confidence.

And, if even that were too subtle for the tubby Telegraph reader to take the hint, the article goes into all-out advertorial mode soon after:

LA fitness has launched its New Year Health Resolutions Campaign across its 80 private health clubs, with a half price membership offer for those signing up in January for 2013.

The service also included 24-hour online support service for members to help motivate them beyond the first month of joining the club – ranging from work/life balance to how to mix up diet and exercise to develop an ongoing fitness routine.

On the plus side, with the time Greg Walton of the Telegraph saved in churning out this story based on 68% of the original press release, I’m sure he was able to squeeze in an extra session at LA Fitness that day…