Yawn!

Keith Greenstein. CreateSpace, $12 paper (28p) ISBN 978-1-4848-5170-8
Greenstein, a copywriter by trade, masquerades as an ally to young sleep-dodgers, warning them to avoid yawn-inducing activities while giving them a tour of those very things. A wide-eyed blond boy stands in for readers in Greenstein's illustrations, which feel like an ode to vintage 1950s cartoons. At bedtime, the boy is seen lying awake in bed (his thought bubble displays a ramshackle pile of fleecy sheep), not that he's complaining: "Heck, you'll stay up till dawn!/ All you have to do/ Is make sure you don't yawwwwwwwwwwn." The singsong verse is built around similarly drawn-out words, inviting readers to chime in (and perhaps triggering an inadvertent yawn or two): "Steer clear of creatures/ Like lobster or prawwwwwwwwn." A few jokes seem more aimed at adults than children—"Don't listen to podcasts/ About the pecaaaaaaaan" reads one page, while a scene about sitting for a portrait includes visual winks to both Titanic and The Family Guy. But Greenstein shows he's not above poking fun at himself, too: "And last but not least, to stop sleep coming on.../ Don't read books like this one/ 'cause they make kids Yawwwwwwwwn!" Ages 3–6.
Reviewed on: 08/26/2013
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