Once Upon a Story
March 30, 2016

Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley_cover (2)Twenty Yawns

by Jane Smiley, illustrated by Lauren Castillo

Published by: Two Lions

Release date: April 2016

Ages: 4-8

Pages: 32

From the publisher:

As her mom reads a bedtime story, Lucy drifts off. But later, she awakens in a dark, still room, and everything looks mysterious. How will she ever get back to sleep?

About The Author:Jane Smiley photo

Jane Smiley is the author of numerous novels, including A Thousand Acres, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, as well as five works of nonfiction and a series of books for young adults. In 2001 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in 2006 she received the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature. This is her first picture book. She lives in Northern California.

laurencastillo_headshot (2)About the Illustrator:

Lauren Castillo is the illustrator of many books, including The Reader by Amy Hest. She has also written and illustrated several books, including Caldecott Honor book Nana in the City and The Troublemaker. She lives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. To learn more, visit www.laurencastillo.com.
Twitter: @studiocastillo.

My thoughts:

In our house, any book can be a bedtime book. Sometimes that means pulling out (or faking) that extra ounce of energy at bedtime to read that wild and silly book just one. more. time.
But then there are other days when the kiddo picks a book that’s just perfect for quieting down, settling in, and getting sleepy. TWENTY YAWNS is that kind of book.
The story opens with a day at a beach, and immediately we’re diving headfirst into happy memories, both Lucy’s and ours. Swinging in the waves with dad, walks along the water, rolling down the dunes. Then, as the sun sets and Lucy and her parents leave the water behind, the yawns begin. First mom, then Lucy, then Dad. The sun sets lower (Lauren Castillo’s spread of the sunset is ah-mazing), and the yawns continue. Into bed, story read…but then suddenly, shadows are creeping across the floor and poor Lucy, sleepy just moments before, is wide awake.
In a movement as effortless as a yawn itself, author Jane Smiley moves the reader from happy and content to nervous and cautious. Lucy knows exactly what she needs, but to get it she has to cross a darkened house, a house in which she’s the only one awake. Do you remember that feeling as a kid? How strange it seems, as if the whole world is asleep? How you tiptoe carefully, but as quickly as possible? The feeling is spot-on here. And when her mission is accomplished, and Lucy crawls back in to bed, there’s more yawns as we slip back into a mode of sleepy calm.
There’s so much to love here. The language and illustrations evoke such wonderful emotions, and the (you guessed it!) twenty yawns interspersed throughout create not only a feeling of sleepiness, but a fun little-hide-and-seek for the reader. Not every yawn is obvious!
This has already become a regular in our bedtime rotation.
Follow the tour!
Check out the activity kit!
Watch the book trailer!


One lucky winner will receive an adorable door hanger (one side for quiet time, one side for play) along with a copy of TWENTY YAWNS. (U.S. only. Giveaway closes at midnight on April 6th)



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