cover image When I Wake Up

When I Wake Up

Seth Fishman, illus. by Jessixa Bagley. Greenwillow, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-245580-2

It’s early in the morning—“only the streetlights are on,” writes Fishman (The Ocean in Your Bathtub)—and a wide-awake brown-skinned child in striped pajamas knows they’re not supposed to disturb their sleeping parents until 7 a.m. They dream up four possibilities to occupy the time, which Bagley (Daisy) portrays in softly textured, dramatically framed watercolor and pencil sketches, with each highly imaginative reverie rendered in different color. Red-tinted vignettes follow the child making a messy breakfast and eating too many marshmallows, yellow vignettes show them drawing an elaborate city and considering calling a favorite uncle, while purple art conveys them taking a scooter ride and climbing a tree (“I don’t even need a boost”), and green shows an outing digging in Mom’s garden. Art from all four story lines appears simultaneously (part of the fun is seeing the different ways each spread’s real estate is divvied up), inviting comparisons and sage considerations of the child’s options. And even though the child makes a less adventurous choice in the end, readers should come away admiring their mischievousness, creativity, independence, and curiosity. Ages 4–8. (Dec.)