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Monday, September 2, 2013

I Dare You Not To Yawn, written by Helene Boudreau and illustrated by Serge Bloch. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2013. $18.00 ages 2 and up

"So, if you're not ready to go to bed, follow these tips and DO NOT YAWN!

If someone else yawns, like your baby brother or your big sister, or the dog - ahhh! - LOOK AWAY!

Yawns are like colds.
They spread."

It's a good thing this book wasn't one of Bret's favorites when we were reading three books a night before he went to sleep. As it was, he probably couldn't count the nights he had to shake us awake so we could read the next Berenstain Bears book, or whatever other books were his favorites at the time. All I need to see is one yawn...and I am done! I guess that's what happens for everyone. It's a contagious thing!

In this highly entertaining book, the boy's downfall begins when he looks at his yawning cat. He then explains to his audience that, no matter what important work you might be doing, the next thing you know you will get caught up in the business of yawning. You can TRY to stop it; but, you're toast. They are sneaky little things, those yawns. And, they cause chaos of all kinds.

Your listeners are sure to giggle, and perhaps even yawn...depending on how good you are it yourself. At night, it might be the perfect way to that persnickety little one to snuggle up and then settle in. You can surely give it a try!

The story is perfectly scripted to give readers a clear understanding for how the young man is feeling, and that a mistimed yawn can produce dire results. He does all in his power to keep it from happening to him:

"Don't sing sleepy-time songs about twinkling stars or baaing sheep, especially the counting kind - one sheep, two sheep, baa...baa...baa..."

Serge Bloch uses a humorous bent to create his illustrations which perfectly capture the young boy's annoyance with the way that yawns can sneak up on you, and result in an early bedtime. The range of emotions he captures will have young readers commiserating with the narrator as he tries to avoid any contact with that persistent, troublemaking yawn. He extends our understanding of this engaging tale with his use of textures and bold colors.  
You may think that you are not about to get drawn into this yawning nonsense. I think you have your work cut out for you and besides, what fun to stretch your arms, close your eyes tight and let your mouth open wide. Who would want to miss that? Try to remember his warning:

"They creep up on you when you least expect them."
Stay strong! See if you can keep that yawn from happening to you...

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