cover image I Dare You Not to Yawn

I Dare You Not to Yawn

Hélène Boudreau, illus. by Serge Bloch. Candlewick, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-5070-4

Boudreau (Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings) dispenses mock advice for children who want to avoid bedtime with a sly dose of comedy. “There you are, minding your own business, building the tallest block tower in the history of the universe or dressing up the cat when suddenly... a yawn pops out,” she writes. Yawning leads to pajamas, bedtime stories, lullabies, and then—worst of all—lonely darkness. “How did I get here?” ask two eyes in a spread of pitch black. The key to avoiding all of this is to stifle yawns, Boudreau advises. Bloch’s (My Snake Blake) scrawled pen-and-ink drawings—in the school of Jules Feiffer and Quentin Blake—show the threat of “huggable stuffed animals” as a boy bolts, sweat jumping off his forehead, from the yawn-inducing elements of domestic life. The subversive narrator, who so clearly understands the indignity and outrage of bedtime, makes a wonderful ally, and Bloch’s visual jests make this a book that promises to elicit not yawns, but guffaws. Ages 4–up. Author’s agent: Lauren MacLeod, the Strothman Agency. (Mar.)