Sep 29, 2011

Are You Awake?

Are You Awake?

Are You Awake by Sophie Blackall

     As soon as I opened Are You Awake? and saw the image of a boy leaning over his sleeping mom and propping her eyelid open with his index finger, I was completely hooked.  Been there...and if you have young kids, I know you've been there too.  Edward rises in the middle of the night and wakes his mother up with the classic question:

Mom, are you awake?    
  MM-MM. No.
Why aren't you awake?
  Because I'm asleep.
Why are you asleep?
  Because it's still nighttime.
Why is it still nighttime?
  Because the sun hasn't come up yet.

     Edward has hundreds of questions ready to keep the conversation going all night, including "What does your face look like when you're asleep?" Eventually, his mom switches positions and begins asking the questions: "Do you like yellow?" "Why is it your favorite color?" "What are some yellow things?"

And my favorite part:

Dogs are yellow.
  No, they're not.
Yellow dogs are.

     Finally, mom goes on and on talking about things that are yellow, including a synesthesia-like description: "Some names sound yellow to me, like Peter, and some letters and numbers, like E and 3."  As she moves down the list, Edwards eyes slowly close, just as the yellowest thing begins to come through the window.

     Are You Awake? is tender and funny.  Parents will relate to the situation immediately and young kids will find themselves depicted in Edward's questions and movements around the bed.  Sophie Blackall's (Big Red Lollipop) illustrations are gorgeous with a classic look about them that match the topic and tone of the book beautifully.  This one gets added to my favorite books of the year bookshelf.

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