The World Champion of Staying Awake

The World Champion of Staying Awake

5.0 1
by Sean Taylor, Jimmy Liao

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When Stella’s toy animals refuse to go to sleep, she comes up with a clever plan using her keen imagination.

It’s time for Stella to go to bed. But how can she sleep when Cherry Pig, Thunderbolt the puppet mouse, and Beanbag Frog are wide awake? "I’m the world champion of staying awake!" shouts Cherry Pig, bouncing on the bed.


When Stella’s toy animals refuse to go to sleep, she comes up with a clever plan using her keen imagination.

It’s time for Stella to go to bed. But how can she sleep when Cherry Pig, Thunderbolt the puppet mouse, and Beanbag Frog are wide awake? "I’m the world champion of staying awake!" shouts Cherry Pig, bouncing on the bed. Luckily Stella is good at thinking up ways to get her toys to sleep - by taking them on a sailing Pillow Ship, a shoebox Midnight Train, and a toy-basket Starship Balloon. With luminous illustrations and an utterly charming text ("I’ve shut my eyes, but my feet are completely woken-up . . . "), this ode to a child’s imagination and boundless spirit is certain to be a winning choice at bedtime.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This isn't the first book to subvert conventions by giving a child the responsibility of ushering others to bed, but it's easily one of the more lovingly executed and designed. Stella, a preschooler in a tank top and yellow slippers, is tasked with getting her three rambunctious playmates to bed. But Cherry Pig, Thunderbolt (a superhero mouse), and Beanbag Frog have other ideas, and their spot-on protestations will be instantly recognizable to both kids and beleaguered parents. "Sleep is too slow!" shouts Beanbag Frog, later complaining, "I've shut my eyes, but my feet are completely woken up." By using objects from around her bedroom to create imagination-fueled journeys by ship, train, and hot-air balloon, Stella accomplishes her mission with patience and style. In contrast to the spot illustrations of the main story, which are set against white backgrounds, the characters' imagined expeditions are rich, full-bleed watercolor scenes, accompanied by rhymed couplets that balance the rowdiness of the bedtime preparations with cozy imagery and soothing rhythms. It's just the thing for testing the mettle of those who would lay claim to the titular honorific. Ages 3–up. (July)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Young Stella cannot possibly go to bed until she has put to sleep her very wide-awake toys: Cherry Pig, Thunderbolt the puppet mouse, and Beanbag Frog. Each claims in turn to be the world champion of staying awake. So Stella tries; first she puts them on a pillow and turns it into a ship. With a poem accompaniment, the pillow ship sails across the double page on a busy ocean to a cozy barn. This works to put Cherry Pig to sleep, but the others are still wide-awake. Stella then dreams her shoe box into a train. More rhymes take them on a magical ride across double pages, and Thunderbolt is out, leaving Frog still "hoppety-hop-ing." Stella takes him on a rhyming starship balloon ride to the "sparkling necklaces of the skies." At last only Stella remains the champion..."or maybe not." The watercolor painting on the jacket and cover shows the wide-awake quartet ready for action. These are charming characters, with Stella the most appealing. The vignettes, single, and double-page scenes are loaded with details; the dreams in particular hold attention as we inspect each venue. Check the contrasting end pages of this stimulation of young imaginations. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-K—It's bedtime for Stella, but her friends—Cherry Pig, Thunderbolt the puppet mouse, and Beanbag Frog—aren't tired. In fact, they're bouncing all over the child's room. "Sleep is too slow!" croaks Beanbag Frog. "I'm the world champion of staying awake!" says Cherry Pig. How will she get them to settle down? Clever Stella uses her vivid imagination to create each toy a world in which it is lulled to sleep by movement, sound, and lyrics, perfect for dreaming. Readers will adore Stella as she gently encourages her not-so-sleepy friends to dreamland. Cherry Pig takes a trip on the high seas through the magic of a pillow and beautiful lyrics that gently coax her to sleep. Thunderbolt and Beanbag Frog also take their own special journey to dreamland using Stella's vivid imagination and reassuring verse. Finally, "They're all fast asleep," Stella says and she tucks herself into bed. Parents will relate to the difficulty of getting a child to sleep who is still full of energy, while youngsters may find themselves lulled to sleep alongside the animals. Liao's sweet watercolor illustrations of Stella and her friends as well as the imaginative worlds they create are just lovely. A first purchase.—C. J. Connor, Campbell County Public Library, Cold Spring, KY
Kirkus Reviews
Little Stella stuffs a month of adventure into a single bedtime.

Dad announces that it's time for bed, and she sets to work getting her three favorite toys to sleep. Cherry Pig, Thunderbolt (a plush mouse) and Beanbag Frog all declare they're wide awake. Gathering them, Stella lays them gently on her pillow and lifts them into the air, "dream[ing] the pillow into something." They dream an ocean, the pillow a ship rocking on the waves. Cherry Pig imagines herself snuggling on a haystack in the loft; she's asleep. Thunderbolt and Beanbag Frog, however, remain awake and full of energy. Stella puts them in a box and, pushing it across the floor, says it's a train. Mouse and frog are transported to the midnight run; Thunderbolt imagines them riding magic horses through the air; he's asleep too. "Starship balloon" proves the way to make Beanbag Frog sleepy. She carries them allto bed and follows their lead. Taylor makes each of the toys' dreams a poem, which nicely counterpoints the simple main story, though some of the images both in the verse and pictures seem arbitrary. Liao's watercolors are bright, and all the characters lookadorable. The ample white space in book's design invites readers in and transitions the characters from reality into their imaginations.

Pleasant if unexceptional.(Picture book. 3-5)

Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.66(w) x 10.12(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
3 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Sean Taylor is an author, storyteller, and teacher who has written more than twenty books for young children. He divides his time between the U.K. and Brazil.

Jimmy Liao is a best-selling, award-winning Taiwanese author-illustrator whose first book with Candlewick Press was The Monster Who Ate Darkness by Joyce Dunbar.

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The World Champion of Staying Awake 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My daughter and I both love this book. Incredibley cute! Illustrations are wonderful!