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story.lead_photo.caption The Yawns Are Coming by Christopher Eliopoulos (Dial Books for Young Readers, April 28), ages 4-8, 32 pages, $17.99. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Celia Storey)

TITLE: The Yawns Are Coming

BY: Christopher Eliopoulos (Dial Books for Young Readers, Tuesday), ages 4-8, 32 pages, $17.99.

STORY: The message here is, "We have no power over sleep — and that's OK."

Our child hero and his pal Noodle are wearing animal PJs for their sleepover, for which they have made a long to-do list. They check off some of their busy plans while the sun is up, but once the fireflies they intend to trap are in a jar, a swarm of tennis-ball-size ... uhhh ... balls, with arms, legs and grinning little faces arrives.

So the kids run away. They climb, they hide, but it is no use: The animated balls are Yawns. Nothing stops them. Eventually, they catch the kids.

It's interesting that the Yawns catch the kids, the kids don't catch the yawns. In life, we know, yawns are very contagious.

Once caught, the kids cannot stop yawning, and then a Doze — a drippy block with unhappy eyes — sits on Noodle's head. Soon he sprawls on the floor, with a flock of winged Snores fluttering over him. The size of moths, Snores are like less symmetrical Yawns, except they have wings instead of arms, their feet have toes, and their gaping mouths have top incisors. Also, they have floppy chicken-like crests and bunny tails.

The other child, our narrator, tries in vain to save his buddy until a blue pillow monster called a Sleepy envelopes him.

Both kids wake up the next day able to have lots of fun, so no harm done.

Eliopoulos illustrated the picture book biography series Ordinary People Change the World, which includes more than a dozen titles. This is the first picture book for which he is writer as well as artist. Recently, he streamed a few drawing sessions on his YouTube channel that cartoon artists would find interesting; see youtube.com/user/ChrisEliopoulos.

Read to Me is a weekly review of short books.

Style on 04/27/2020

Print Headline: READ TO ME

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