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WHILE YOU ARE SLEEPING by Alexis Deacon Kirkus Star


by Alexis Deacon & illustrated by Alexis Deacon

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: Sept. 8th, 2006
ISBN: 0-374-38330-8
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Deacon’s illustrations for this variation on the theme of toys that wake while a child sleeps are heartwarming and very nearly profound. A golden-haired child plays in her room: “We are the bedside toys,” they proclaim. A sock monkey, a teddy bear, an elephant with glasses, a small stuffed puppy and the new toy, a tiny lion, check everywhere in the room, each night, even under the bed, “if we’re feeling brave.” They cool the child if she’s too hot; pull the covers up if she’s cold. In a particularly beguiling double-page spread, we see them scaring bad dreams away by disguising themselves: The puppy wears a badminton birdie on his head; the sock money sports red winged sunglasses and the adorable bear covers his head with a beach bucket. They make sure she sleeps through Santa’s arrival, and tuck her back in after she falls out of bed. The pictures, with their rich evening colors, use shadowed geometry to make scenes of beautiful stillness and reassuring comfort. “Why do we do it?” the toys ask, rhetorically. No child will miss the answer as the girl cuddles her toys in the morning light. (Picture book. 3-7)