cover image Are You Awake?

Are You Awake?

Sophie Blackall. Holt/Ottaviano, $12.95 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8050-7858-9

Blackall's account of a very early morning conversation between Edward and his exhausted mother will not reform early risers, but they may recognize themselves. Blackall (Pecan Pie Baby), in her authorial debut, has the circular nature of drowsy parent-child exchanges down: " 'Why are you asleep?' 'Because it's still nighttime.' 'Why is it still nighttime?' 'Because the sun hasn't come up yet'.... 'Why are the stars still out?' 'Because it's nighttime.' " Her palette starts out gray, warming to sunlit yellow as the bedside clock hands rotate and dawn breaks. Dialogue moves from speech balloons to type and back again, while watercolor panels offer affectionate closeups of Edward, his mother, and night scenes from their apartment window. Edward's antics hit the mark (he sits cheerfully on his mother while she holds a pillow over her head, drapes himself over her body sideways, and gazes at her with love throughout), while Blackall's arch voice (" 'Is Daddy awake?' 'I hope so.' 'Why do you hope so?' 'Because he's flying a plane' ") makes this a solid candidate for the favorites pile. Ages 2%E2%80%935. (May)