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WAKE ME UP IN 20 COCONUTS! by Laurie Keller


by Laurie Keller ; illustrated by Laurie Keller

Pub Date: Sept. 20th, 2022
ISBN: 978-0-316-31196-0
Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books

A romp about saying “I don’t know.”

An apartment building full of cartoonlike creatures shown interacting through their windows (a clever illustrative decision) evokes the lively life of urban living. When one neighbor asks another (via the window) to wake them up in “20 coconuts,” the neighbor agrees but then admits to himself that he doesn’t know what that means—something that bothers him because he is known for being a know-it-all; in fact, he comes from a family of know-it-alls. Ah, pressure! The know-it-all gets himself into a tizzy, cleans his ears and finds a sock and a chicken, consults “Phoney” (his cellphone), and even gets his brain washed by Wally’s Wash Works. If this all sounds extremely silly and somewhat chaotic, it is—which means kids will probably love it. Eventually, he wakes up his neighbor with his yelling (right on time, apparently) but admits to her he doesn’t know what 20 coconuts means. She offers to explain, but then he says he has to be somewhere in “11 bananas,” throwing her into confusion. The energetic (some may say frenzied) tone is amplified by illustrations that have lots going on, with various characters talking in dialogue bubbles to each other, but the message itself comes across as a little light until an explanatory note from the “brains” spells it out—it’s OK to say you don’t know. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A worthy message wrapped up in a playful romp.

(Picture book. 3-5)