“I’m not tired!”
That’s what you might say when it’s time for bed. You want to stay awake for awhile. Who can shut their eyes when fun might be happening? You’re not tired, but in the new book “Stop That Yawn!” by Caron Levis, illustrated by LeUyen Pham (2018, Atheneum Books for Young Readers), you might act like you are.
Gabby Wild lived with her Granny in Sleepytown. And she was tired of it!
All they ever did was sleep, nap, snooze, and lay in bed. Ugh, who needs that? Gabby begged and begged Granny to take her somewhere fun, somewhere there was action and where people actually stayed up all night. Finally, Granny agreed and they packed their toothbrushes.
When they finally reached Never Sleeping City, it was glorious. Nobody went to bed early. Nobody went to bed at all! Instead, they sung songs all night that weren’t lullabies, they enjoyed blinky lights, and they had ice cream whenever they wanted it. There was an opera house and dancing and music!
It was so much fun! It was so exciting, until Granny looked up to the skies. The moon was quiet and peaceful. Stars were twinkling softly. And – uh oh – she yawned.
As quick as a wink, the Yawn oozed down on Never Sleeping City. On the sidewalks, circus animals yawned and nodded off. The ice cream man took a snooze. The city’s baker stretched and opened his mouth wide. Gabby started to panic!
“Quick!” she yelled. “Grit your teeth, seal your lips, we have to stop that –”
But it was too late. The Yawn spread all through the city, up and down the streets, into shops and opera houses and into Never Sleeping City’s city hall. Gabby rang bells, she shouted, but the Yawn was everywhere. Never Sleeping City was now asleep.
There was just “one place left for her to turn.” There was only one thing Gabby could do. There was just one place left to go, and she would have to take Granny with her!
For a book that would otherwise make an excellent bedtime story, “Stop That Yawn!” has a surprising amount of action in it.
If you’re a parent who’ll be charged with reading it aloud, take that as a warning. Author Caron Levis tells a great story, but the arrival in and the ensuing run through the fictional Never Sleeping City could serve to rouse a kid who’s a master at fighting sleep. There’s a lot to see in artwork by LeUyen Pham and while the illustrations are wonderful, they’re busy enough to add to the battle.
And yet, if you use your bedtime voice, how could your child resist a tale that so charmingly winds down an active night? How could you bear to miss a bedplane, or a Vegas-like cartoon town, or a giraffe that’s sweetly collapsed in slumber?
You can’t, and neither could your 4-to-8-year-old, especially if (s)he can’t sleep without a story. Read carefully, soft and quiet, and “Stop That Yawn!” is a book you’ll never get tired of.