In a big, big city on a busy street a little girl has her bedroom at the tipity-top of a pretty tall building. Just as she is getting sleepy and ready for bed …
… now the girl is not sleepy. She is awake.
No way is she going to sleep with a spider in her room. So the little girl starts brainstorming ways to remove the spider only to realize that the she might not be the only one scared by this sudden development in Awake (2021) by Mags Deroma.
Awake is Deroma’s picture book debut. As the copyright page notes, her artwork is created “with paint and soft pastels on a gazillion pieces of cut paper all collaged together.” This technique gives a colorblock look to Deroma’s illustrations while also offering opportunities for intricate details in wide views of the city outside the girl’s bedroom windows.
Every piece of this book ties back to the story from the copyright laid out like a spiderweb to the endpapers urging readers to open their eyes, minds, and hearts to be awake. The endpapers at the back of the book includes tips to remove any pesky spiders with a glass and a piece of cardboard–the technique our protagonist employs upon realizing the spider is more itsy bitsy than big and scary.
Awake is a dynamic picture book that makes use of the brief text and bold artwork to add action and drama to the story as the little girl contends with her unwanted companion. The artwork also contrasts the girl’s reality in her bedroom well with her interior monologue as she tries to figure out how to deal with her arachnid visitor.
Awake is a fun, sweet story ideal for reading at bedtime or in tandem with other pro-bug picture book adventures.
Possible Pairings: Worm Loves Worm by J. J. Austrian and Mike Curato, The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle, Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin and Harry Bliss, How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers, Thank You and Goodnight by Patrick McDonnell, The Dark by Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen
*An advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review consideration*