PICTURE BOOK REVIEW: Oh, Are You Awake? by Bob Shea, illustrated by Jarvis


For anyone who has ever craved sleep—and anyone too full of energy to settle down—a comedy from Bob Shea, creator of the popular Dinosaur vs. series, and singular illustrator Jarvis.

It’s sleepy time for Lion and Penguin. Correction: it should be sleepy time for Lion and Penguin, but Lion’s eyes aren’t tired, and his ears would like a story. Penguin, however, is tired and nods off into sweet candy dreams—until a noise wakes him. “Oh, are you awake?” asks Lion sweetly, seated before a drum set. “Let’s have that story, then!” “Not now. It is time to close your eyes and dream dreams.” And so it goes, with an ever-more-disgruntled Penguin trying to nod off while an exuberant Lion innocently practices his drumming, bounces on his squeaky trampoline, and munches on his crunchy chips. Will Penguin need to resort to extreme measures to get his friend to sleep, or has the answer been there all along? Bob Shea’s signature wit, delivered only in dialogue, and Jarvis’s unassuming, retro art and knack for visual humor are sure to delight young readers—and their caregivers—whether at naptime, bedtime, or anytime.


Penguin desperately wants to go to sleep. The illustrations make that very clear as Penguin struggles to keep his eyes open. But Lion wants a story and is willing to try all sorts of things to wake up Penguin so he gets his story. Drums? Check. Crunchy chips? Check. Trampoline? Check. Each time Penguin declines to share a story and drifts back into his fantastic dreams. Lion wants to hear about these great dreams but Penguin doesn't want to share. Finally, though Penguin finds a way to get both of them to dreamland. The funny text begs to be read aloud as Lion begs and pleads for a story and Penguin tiredly refuses. This brings to mind many a parent-child interaction before bedtime with a weary parent ready to sleep and a child ready to hear a story. Jarvis's illustrations are colorful and appealing, especially the dream sequences. If only my dreams were this good! 


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