The Bookworm for Saturday, October 29, 2011

You might not remember but for many years, you slept in a crib. It had four high sides so you didn’t fall out and soft places so you didn’t bump your head.

These days, though, you sleep in a big-kid bed and it’s huge. There’s plenty of room for you and your stuffed animals, it’s very bouncy, and there are lots of blankets on it.

And there’s no way you want to be in it any time soon.

Stella’s stuffed animals feel the same way. They’re simply not tired, and in the new book “The World Champion of Staying Awake” by Sean Taylor, illustrated by Jimmy Liao, Stella has her work cut out for her.

Stella’s dad says it’s time for bed, but that’s impossible. Cherry Pig, Thunderbolt the puppet mouse, and Beanbag Frog are all still awake.

They are, in fact, wide awake. They’re hopping and rolling and playing around, but Stella tries to send them to bed anyhow.

It doesn’t work.

Nobody’s the least bit tired, so nobody’s going to sleep. Then Cherry Pig announces that he’s the world champion of staying awake, but Stella’s had experience with this. She’s very good at thinking of things to make Cherry Pig sleepy and pretty soon, his eyes are shut and he is asleep on Stella’s pillow.

But Beanbag Frog and Thunderbolt are still awake, bouncing off the bed and playing. Then Thunderbolt hollers that he’s the world champion of staying awake, but Stella has done this before. She puts Beanbag Frog and Thunderbolt the puppet mouse both in a shoebox. Stella pretends something special, says a sleepytime poem and soon, Thunderbolt is fast asleep in the box.

That leaves Beanbag Frog, who’s full of silly questions and is still hippity hopping all over the room. Beanbag Frog says that he’s the world champion of staying awake, but Stella knows what to do. She puts him in the toy basket, which becomes a balloon that floats high above the earth. Soon, Beanbag Frog’s eyes are closed and he’s asleep in the toy basket.

So that just leaves Stella. Now who’s the world champion?

Kids + bedtime doesn’t always = easy to do. They are notorious for fighting sleep, but “The World Champion of Staying Awake” just might help make sleepytime a little easier for you both.

With the knowledge of someone who’s been there, author Sean Taylor tells a story that allows children to mimic what their parents must go through each night at bedtime. I loved the imagination Taylor gives little Stella, and the kiddishly exasperated patience she has for each of her reluctant stuffed pals. Surely, you’ll be able to identify with Stella, too, and I think you’ll get as much of a kick out of the vivid illustrations from Jimmy Liao as will your children.

I believe that, if you’ve got a 2 to 5 year old who hates bedtime, this book may make them eager to snuggle beneath the blankets. For your child, “The World Champion of Staying Awake” would make for a good night.

• The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old and she never goes anywhere without a book.


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