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ARE YOU AWAKE? by Sophie Blackall


by Sophie Blackall & illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Age Range: 2 - 5

Pub Date: May 24th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8050-7858-9
Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

The titular question sparks a conversation many parents will find very familiar.

Edward peppers his mom with question after question—nothing unusual about that. Problem is, it’s 4:00 a.m. Sleepy circular logic results from the combination of Edward’s repetitious, 30-plus queries and Mom’s patient, bemused answers. When “Why hasn’t the sun come up yet?” is posed for the fourth time, she switches from allusions to moon and stars to a perfunctory “Because it’s Tuesday.” We learn that Dad is a pilot flying at night—one source, perhaps, of the little one’s restlessness. Blackall provides visual indicators that invite children to track the passage from night to morning. Color alters gradually from the bedroom’s dusky grays to the golden light suffusing the room at sunrise. An analog clock shaped like a green owl marks the hour in some spreads. Just for fun, apparently, in a corner of the verso pages, Edward’s roly-poly toy elephant cavorts before succumbing to zzzzs. The boy’s dialogue is in lower case, while Mom’s is proffered in gently emphatic caps. As she wakes fully, Mom poses a few Qs of her own, then opines about yellow things. Edward finally slumbers, Dad comes home—and a last spread promises more “Why?”s.

Diminutive in size—just right, really, for a midnight conversation—and pleasantly sweet. (Picture book. 2-5)