Friday, October 10, 2014

PPBF: Are You Awake?

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

The first book which she both wrote and illustrated
Are You Awake?
Written and illustrated by Sophie Blackall
2011, Henry Holt,
ages 2-5, 40 pp.

Bedtime, Patience, Relationships

Mom? Mom?
Yes, Edward?
Mom, are you awake?
Mm-mm. No.

This sweet bedtime book chronicles a toddler's night-time wanderings and wonderings. He questions mom over and over while she tries to get a few more precious minutes of sleep. He wants to know why dad is flying a plane, why the sun isn't yet up, why , why, why? Mom tries unsuccessfully to get Edward to go back to sleep. She tries alternately answering, coaxing, playing games, and questioning him back. This is a quiet book about the playful (if somewhat reluctant) exchanges between mother and child. Perfect for anyone whose had a sleepless night because of a curious child.

What I Love:
I love that every aspect of this book was obviously planned. The size, shape, font styles and colors, layouts, illustrations, endpapers. It is a delight to hold.

I love the softness of the Chinese ink and watercolor illustrations.

It's 4 O'Clock. Do you know where your children are?
On a more literary level, Are You Awake? perfectly captures the responses of an exhausted parent. The boy's endless questions remind me of my own children. The ending makes me smile, and makes kids want to cray, "Again!"

I love the honest dialogue. Here's my favorite snippet:

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.

by Kitchentreaty
1. Here's a nice interview with Sophie from Juana Martinez-Neal.
2. Here Sophie posts on her blog a bit about the inspiration for the book and what it took to get it published.
3. The Horn Book does a bang-up job on introducing the book and it's author on their website.
4. Take a sneak peek into Sophie's cabinet-of-curiosities-style home from Design Sponge.
5. Buy one of the artist's prints from her Etsy shop.
6. Every one of Sophie's books has a whale hidden in the illustrations in honor of Moby Dick. Can you find it?
7. Need some suggestions for over-active toddlers? Read these bedtime rituals from Parenting, KidsGrowth, and ivillage.
8. Try some soothing hot chocolate by the mug as a bedtime snack.
9. Look for these other Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

More Sophie Blackall
Reviewed by Wendy
A book about why
Reviewed by Kirsten

Who's stolen all the bedtime stories?
Reviewed by Julie
Lyrical bedtime tale
Reviewed by Catherine

More babies who can't sleep
Reviewed by Laura
Bedtime silliness
Reviewed by Clarike

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for October 10, 2014 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.


  1. I love this book, it manages to capture this well-known moment of childhood perfectly from a child's and a parent's perspective! I didn't realize it was her first as author/illustrator.

    1. If I remember correctly, it took her 9 years from the time her 3 year-old inspired the story to the time it was published. (He was 12)

  2. Oh my, this sounds like me as a child. I must have driven my dad crazy, but he was so patient. I would see shadows from car lights shining on the living room drapes. But he was always so patient. I'm going to have to buy this one for my new grandson.

    Joanne, I sent you an e-mail message last week asking you about a book. Did you receive it? You should be able to see my e-mail address on your website.

    1. What a great personal story to share with your grandkids in addition to the story Sophie has written. Ah, the magic of books. And yes, you can expect a reply today, I hope.

  3. This one looks like a winner! And I like all your other suggestions as well! Thanks!

    1. Now you know why my book bag is always over flowing. So much to read . . .

  4. Before I finished reading your post, I shared this with a friend on FB. The opening make me think of Carla and her little Shortstack. :)

    1. Why thanks! I hope they like it. Hmmm. "Carla and Her Little Shortstack" sounds like a good title. I guess you are already in PiBoIdMo mode!

  5. This looks wonderful, Joanne, and I can totally relate! I wrote Can't Sleep Without Sheep because I have a son who was exactly like Edward :) Thanks so much for adding this one to our bedtime list :)

    1. Sorry, somehow I missed your comment initially . . . Yes, we can definitely relate, which is perhaps why I loved your book so much. I never tire of seeing myself (and people I know) in a book.


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