About the Holiday
If there’s one day a year when you should be easy on yourself and take a nap when the feeling strikes, today is it! Held annually on the Monday after the spring time change, National Napping Day allows us to recapture that lost hour of sleep and reset our body clocks. So if you start feeling that can’t-keep-my-eyes-open weariness, go ahead and kick off your shoes, get comfy, and….
Written by Jane Smiley | Illustrated by Lauren Castillo
A little girl and her mom and dad are out for a day at the beach. Along the curving coastline they found the perfect spot to plant their umbrella and unfold their chairs. While Lucy dug a hole near the foaming waves, her mom and dad read in the shade of the umbrella. When the hole was big enough to hold her dad, Lucy “covered him up and they laughed and laughed.” Later, Lucy’s dad took her hand and swung “her into the sky” just as a wave crashed onto the shore.
In the afternoon Lucy, Mom, and Dad walked “all the way to the end of the beach,” stopping here and there to chase seagulls, fly a kite, and play. Coming back, Lucy rolled “down the soft warm dunes,” never wanting the day to end. Returning to their umbrella, the three built a sandcastle and headed for home only when the sun began to set. “Lucy yawned. Mom yawned. Dad yawned.” Everyone was ready to go to bed early.
When they reached home, “Lucy put on her pajamas inside out, climbed into bed, and yawned a big YAWN.” Lucy’s mom began to read her a story about a little boy named Fred. Lucy yawned and began to doze, but soon she no longer heard her mom’s voice. She peeked at her mom. “She was asleep!” Lucy stared out into her room. “The moon shone through the window, a silver veil that fell across the floor. Everything looked mysterious, even Lucy’s own hands on the bedspread.”
Suddenly, all the people in her pictures—Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Elizabeth, Mom, Dad, and even Fred in the book on the floor—seemed to be looking at her. Lucy wanted her teddy bear, Molasses. She crept out of her room, past her dad sleeping in a living room chair, and over to the bookcase, where Molasses hid under a pile of toys. As Lucy pulled at Molasses, Hornet the giraffe, Juno the horse, Mathilda the alligator, Frank the kangaroo, and his baby, Leonard all tumbled to the floor.
As Lucy started back to her room, she saw her toys watching her. They looked so lonely. One by one she carried them to her bed and “dropped them in a patch of moonlight.” She tucked them in and gave each a kiss. She thought they all “looked sleepy and happy.” Lucy cuddled up next to her toys and yawned. They in turn yawned too. So did Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Elizabeth, Mom, Dad, and even Fred. Lucy hugged Molasses tight, “gave one last YAWN…and fell asleep.”
Jane Smiley’s Twenty Yawns perfectly captures the deep-down happy tiredness after a day in the sun. While Mom and Dad surrender to sleep, Lucy’s awareness is heightened in the strangely quiet house and can only be alleviated by sharing her bedtime routine with her stuffed animal friends. Beautiful lyrical passages paint word pictures of the tropical setting and Lucy’s imagination, while Lucy’s tender care for her toys replicates the love her parents show her.
Lauren Castillo’s blue sea and golden beach glows with the warmth of the sun and a family’s togetherness. Lucy and her dad play in the surf, Lucy’s parents walk hand-in-hand as Lucy runs after seagulls on their walk, and they all help build a sandcastle. Back home in their cozy house, Lucy and her mom gaze out a window as their house is cast in shadow by the setting sun. Tall palm trees wave against a blue, purple, pink, peach, and yellow sky. Little Lucy is adorable as she plays in the dunes, creeps through her sleeping house, and kisses her toys goodnight. Young readers will contentedly join Lucy and her family in their fun day as well as their yawny snoozing.
Little ones who wonder if there are indeed 20 yawns in the book will be rewarded by counting each sigh.
Twenty Yawns is a sweet, quiet book for naptimes, bedtimes, indoor days, and any time when a little relaxation is just what’s needed.
Ages 2 – 7
Two Lions, 2016 | ISBN 978-1477826355
You can connect with Jane Smiley on Facebook.
Learn more about Lauren Castillo, her books, and her art on her website.
Napping Day Activity
Sleepy Buddy Craft
It’s easy to make a one-of-a-kind sleepy buddy for naptime or any time. With just a few materials and your own creativity, you’ll soon have a new friend to snuggle with!
- 1 8-inch by 11-inch piece of fleece in the color or your choice for the body (or scraps if you have some from an earlier project). A larger piece of fleece can be used to make a larger buddy
- 1 5-inch by 8-inch piece of fleece in the color or your choice for the hair (or scraps if you have some from an earlier project)
- 1 small piece of fleece or other material for a pocket, clothes, or blanket
- Small scraps of fleece or other material for the face
- Fiber Fill
- Thread and sewing needle OR fabric glue
To Make the Body
- Fold the large piece of fleece in half lengthwise and sew along the open side and along the bottom. Alternatively, if using a larger size piece of fleece, fold upward and sew or glue the two sides closed.
- Turn the form inside out
To Make the Hair
- Cut a piece of fleece as wide as your buddy and about 7 – 8 inches long
- Fold the fleece lengthwise
- Insert both ends of the fleece into the opening at the top of the body
- Sew or glue the opening shut, securing the hair
- Cut strips about ¼-inch wide from the top of the hair to close to where the hair is sown into the body
To Make a Pocket or Clothes
- Cut a piece of fleece in the shape of a pocket, shirt, pants, diaper, or blanket
- Sew or glue the pocket or clothes to the buddy
To Make the Face
- Cut eyes, a nose, and a mouth in whatever way you would like your buddy to look. (My buddy is sleeping.)
- Sew or glue the face to the buddy
- Snuggle up!
Picture Book Review