Friday, September 4, 2015

While You Were Napping by Jenny Offill

While You Were Napping by Jenny Offill, illustrated by Barry Blitt

Rating: 4 stars
Random House Kids
WARNING: Do not read this book to your child if she or he still naps!!
For better or for worse, my three kids are past the napping stage. Mostly, it’s a for-better thing. And after the explosion of cool stuff that happens in this book while one little boy takes a nap, they’d never nap again.
While You Were Napping by Jenny Offill is a new-ish picture book published by Random House in late 2014. It’s a story told in the voice of a big sister speaking directly to a little brother. You must know that the humor is slightly twisted, just a little mean, but to me downright funny. Like it or not, it's the stuff of siblings. This big sister tells her little brother all the fun adventures that happened while he—and he alone—napped. All the other kids in the entire universe were up, partying with pirates and carousing with juice boxes, while he snored.
Here’s the fun that’s had:
They lined everyone up on the diving board
From the bravest to the scaredest,
Then waved their big swords in the air
And told us to make our last wishes.
First, construction workers roared by in their working trucks. Since they were “bored with building,” they offered their vehicles to the kids. Since there was no grass left when they were done bulldozing, the next cool activity they moved to was digging up dinosaur bones.
As if that wasn’t enough, some enormous robots strolled by with blue cotton candy—wouldn’t you know it? the slumbering child’s favorite kind—and the only other thing available to eat were french-sandwiches. No “please” was heard for miles.
Fireworks and rockets, lit by even the youngest of babies (yikes!) got the firefighters’ attention so they raced to the scene with their sirens screaming. The fire also attracted pirates with bandannas and eye patches, who lined up everyone on the neighbor’s diving board and threatened to make them walk the plank.
Finally, some astronauts arrived on their rocket ship to take everyone to the moon. The upside: learning to function in zero gravity. The downside: plenty of moon dust in the kids’ boots.
Luckily, none of this woke up the sleeping boy. How shocking to see the boy’s face turn grumpy despite his long nap! 
Rest assured that was the last nap of his life.

This was a delight to read to my three kids, who roared with every new page. With my slightly sarcastic sense of humor, they are pretty tuned in to what’s fact, and what’s fiction. Their sense of humor, especially the second and third children (both boys), is a little twisted. This book is not for that literal lad who might believe a little too much of it. Or for any child who is still napping—unless you don’t want that child to nap again. Ever.

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