Gary Eck (text), Nick O’Sullivan (illus.), Wake Up Sleepyhead, Zillion Publishing, 21 Feb 2017, 40pp., $19.99 (hbk), ISBN: 9780995361508
Sleepyhead loves to sleep. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to wake her up. So her parents come up with a contest: Whoever wakes up Sleepyhead wins a year’s worth of banana bread. A weird and wacky collection of contestants try their best to wake Sleepyhead, but it’s the simplest, sweetest attempt that ultimately proves successful.
Gary Eck, an accomplished actor, screenwriter, director and stand-up comedian, forges into the children’s book market with his debut picture book, Wake Up Sleepyhead. In simple, rhyming text well-suited for lower primary students, the story entertains through its creative array of characters and their outrageous antics. With humour and clever phrasing, each spread brings a smile or giggle to young children as Sleepyhead enjoys her rest, oblivious to everything going on around her. The story leads readers through a crescendo of louder and louder attempts to disrupt Sleepyheads’ sleep, but in a cute twist, we learn that bigger isn’t always better — a lovely opening to conversations about manners.
Illustrator Nick O’Sullivan creates a whimsical setting with exaggerated features on characters and an excess of tiny, often very funny, details. In a caliediscope of colours, the story blasts to life across the pages thanks to O’Sullivan’s unique artwork.
Wake Up Sleepyhead is a fun read for any family who has to deal with their own little sleepyhead. Plus, the book includes a wonderful recipe for banana bread — a perfect activity to do after the book is read. And keep a close eye on the details…there is a lot of humour tucked into surprising places, like the author’s page and recipe instructions.
Reviewed by Stephanie Ward