Being a Kid – Tricks of the Trade

9780763650704_p0_v1_s600Lynn:  Most of you reading this blog are in the kid business:  librarians, teachers, parents, writers and publishers of books for kids.  And of course, we’ve ALL been kids.  So we all recognize that there are certain universal truths about being a kid like not wanting to go to bed or loathing green vegetables or finding bodily functions hysterically funny.  Hmm, well maybe that last one is a universal truth about BOY children.  Anyway, we have two books today that celebrate a couple of those kid-centric experiences.

The first is I Dare You Not to Yawn (Candlewick 2013) by Helene Boudreau.  The small boy in the story gives one little yawn and finds himself pajama-clad and in bed before he knows what hit him and he warns readers to be careful!

Yawns are sneaky.

They can creep up on you when you least expect them.

So for all those bed-time rebels, he provides some helpful hints at how to avoid that first insidious yawn like staying away from huggable cozy things and looking away from yawning cats or sleepy baby brothers.  If a sneaky yawn DOES start to escape, cover your mouth and stretch your arms and….well, it’s nearly impossible.  It’s also nearly impossible not to read this book and not start to yawn so, adults, race out and buy this book immediately for your bed-time arsenal!

Serge Bloch’s comic line drawings have lots of big wide circles that start yawny thoughts bouncing around your head and – YAWN – oh excuse me!  The bright uncluttered style and clear text are nicely set off by the plain background and the page-turns are perfectly timed.

The older two boys in our focus group adored this book partly because it is so funny and partly because they often gang up on me in a game they play to make me yawn.  They hover around my reading chair and, without saying anything, just yawn huge big yawns.  In 2 seconds flat they’ve got me.  It’s fiendish!  And now on to another new book about kid tricks of the trade…

On My Way to the BathCindy: Debut author Sarah Maizes and illustrator Michael Paraskevas had me at the cover of On My Way to the Bath (Walker 2012) . If there’s one thing that young children dislike almost as much as going to bed, it’s being interrupted in the midst of play to be ordered to take a bath. Livi, the young pigtailed girl in this book is no exception.

I do not want to take a bath. Baths are boring.
Everything is more fun than baths.

Commanded to take a bath, NOW, the page turns and Livi has become a snake, slithering off the couch and past her baby brother. Her striped tights have become the stripes on the snake but her pigtails are still intact. But she gets sidetracked, by building blocks, a gymnastics routine, the guinea pigs and other distractions that are way more fun than baths. Her mother’s speech bubble requests on each page turn into “I’m counting to 10!” and Livi makes it to the tub just in time. Of course when it is time to get out….well, you know….baths aren’t so bad.

The art is fun and young children will enjoy Livi’s exploits on the way to the bath and perhaps it will spur their own imaginations.  Add this to the read aloud pile…for AFTER bath time!



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

2 Comments on "Being a Kid – Tricks of the Trade"

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  1.' Sarah Maizes says:

    Hi Cindy,

    What a great surprise to read your review of my book today! (And of ALL DAYS too since my muse Livi, and her twin brother, Ben, turn 10 today!).

    I am so glad you liked the book and hope you enjoy “On My Way to Bed” which comes out this September – just as much! (crossing my fingers!)


  2. Love Helene’s clever book! Such a funny take on the bedtime concept.

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