Everyone’s Awake

Chronicle. Mar. 2020. 48p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781452178059.
Gr 3-5–The plot of this picture book is summed up by the title. There is a large family living under one roof and they should be sleeping—but everyone is awake, including our young narrator. Written by Meloy, frontman of the band The Decemberists, the text frequently makes literary and pop culture references for adults to catch, like shout-outs to Prince and Baudelaire. Our narrator expresses quiet bewilderment at the antics of his siblings, parents, grandparents, and even the family pets. Illustrated by Harris, Dave Eggers’s frequent collaborator, spreads start off delightfully simple but quickly grow more hectic as the family’s insomniac activities intensify. Pictures are packed with details, inclusing clever allusions to other picture books and chapter books for young readers. The plot turns increasingly ridiculous, with brother and sister fighting an international war. However, the text ends with a crowd-pleasing underwear joke sure to crack up anyone, even those who might not follow the rest of the action.
VERDICT Recommended for youngsters (and their grownups) who come from or enjoy observing a family with more quirks than every cast member of a Wes Anderson movie combined.

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