Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE WORLD CHAMPION OF STAYING AWAKE by Sean Taylor

THE WORLD CHAMPION OF STAYING AWAKE

By Sean Taylor (Author) , Jimmy Liao (Illustrator)

Age Range: 3 - 5

Pub Date: July 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7636-4957-9
Publisher: Candlewick

Little Stella stuffs a month of adventure into a single bedtime.

Dad announces that it's time for bed, and she sets to work getting her three favorite toys to sleep. Cherry Pig, Thunderbolt (a plush mouse) and Beanbag Frog all declare they're wide awake. Gathering them, Stella lays them gently on her pillow and lifts them into the air, "dream[ing] the pillow into something." They dream an ocean, the pillow a ship rocking on the waves. Cherry Pig imagines herself snuggling on a haystack in the loft; she's asleep. Thunderbolt and Beanbag Frog, however, remain awake and full of energy. Stella puts them in a box and, pushing it across the floor, says it's a train. Mouse and frog are transported to the midnight run; Thunderbolt imagines them riding magic horses through the air; he's asleep too. "Starship balloon" proves the way to make Beanbag Frog sleepy. She carries them all to bed and follows their lead. Taylor makes each of the toys’ dreams a poem, which nicely counterpoints the simple main story, though some of the images both in the verse and pictures seem arbitrary. Liao's watercolors are bright, and all the characters look adorable. The ample white space in book's design invites readers in and transitions the characters from reality into their imaginations.

Pleasant if unexceptional. (Picture book. 3-5)