Trouble sleeping keeps little Boris from thriving at school.
Boris, a nocturnal, anthropomorphic badger child, can’t sleep during the day due to the titular “worrisome wakies” that make him toss and turn until sundown. When he goes to school in the evening, he falls asleep and misses out on everything. Munsinger’s illustrations depict the fun that his classmates describe to him when he finally begins to worry about what he’s been missing, including “The school play. You were a rock.” Throughout the book, cartoon-style watercolor-and-ink illustrations build on the text’s playful humor, but on this spread, the illustration of the school play depicts a sleeping Boris as Plymouth Rock lying before smiling badger children who are costumed like Pilgrims and carry a roasted turkey and a pumpkin, while another is clad as a stereotypical Indian in a feather headdress and holding corn. While humor may have been the intent, many will find the result anything but funny when they consider the picture’s outdated whitewashing of colonialist history. Moving on, Boris resolves to get a good day’s sleep so that he can participate fully at school, and he ends up being the “liveliest cub” there.
This book needs to reject stereotypes in order to get woke. (Picture book. 4-6)