Phillis Gershator







About me


Who's awake?

Who's Awake
in Springtime?

co-author, Mim Green

illustrated by Emilie Chollat

Holt, 2010

*Children's Book of the Month Club selection
for 2/2010

From the book jacket:
Down, down goes the sun,
And down in the sea,
Fish find a safe place to hide.

In this rhythmic springtime tale, animals of all kinds get ready to sleep. As the sun sets, fish find a place to hide, cats curl up, and sheep huddle in their wool coats. Still, not everyone is asleep. The minnow, the kitten, the lamb--and one little boy--are all awake (but not for long!).

A little about the book:
     At a family gathering in Oregon, we were sitting around the table eating breakfast. “Who’s missing,” somebody asked. “Who’s still asleep?”

Mim and I caught the ball and ran, with help from my sister Zori, my niece Natalie, and our cousin Edna. And that's how Who’s Awake in Springtime? got its start.
     Mim and I created a “dummy,” an illustrated mock-up for the book. Then Christy Ottaviano, my wonderful editor at Holt, pushed and pulled the manuscript into shape. It took a long time to find just the right artist. Fortunately, before Mim passed away in the fall of 2007, she got to see Emily Chollat's sketches. Mim was especially fond of the sheep! And David Gershator wrote a sweet song to go with book-- the concluding song on our CD: This Is the Day! Storysongs and Singalongs.
     Bedtime books have a special place in my heart. When parent and child cuddle up to read a picture book story before bed, it’s the one reading experience that can never, ever be replicated any other way. Mim always read great books to me as a child: all the Little Golden Books, Alice in Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh.... That's surely why I have such a passion for reading to this day.
     When Christy chose to publish our mother/daughter collaboration, Mim and I were so excited, we continued to work together on more picture book stories. Working on them after she passed made me feel my mother was still here, looking over my shoulder, still (and always) an inspiration. 

From the reviews:

From Booklist: This rhyming, cumulative text about young animals getting ready to sleep is patterned after The Little Red Hen.... "Who’s asleep? ‘Not I,’ says the minnow.’" The turtles, ducklings, bees, cats, birds, and caterpillars respond likewise....The pop-eyed cartoon faces are appealing, while the clever compositions add a “look-and-find” element. A playful and inviting bedtime tale. Preschool-Grade2. ––Julie Cummins

From School Library Journal:
In this cumulative tale, baby animals stay awake as their grown-ups go down for the evening. As the question “Who’s asleep?” is asked of the creatures in the sea, pond, meadow, garden, and treetop, baby animals everywhere answer, “Not I!” A child dressed in a sheep costume frolics through the panels featuring snoozing fish, sleeping ducks, dreaming turtles, napping birds, snoring bees, curled-up cats, and caterpillars in silken beds. Once the boy gets to the pasture, it’s party time as the sheep all jump and play until they drop. The boy’s mother asks, “Is anyone awake?” Eventually the little lamb boy climbs into bed for his nap, just like all of the other baby animals. Chollat’s playful and detailed illustrations will have readers taking a closer look to see if they can spot the boy in each spread. The repeated refrain of “Not I” is perfect for read-alouds and will surely encourage those listening to chime in. Pair this whimsical story with Claire Freedman’s Snuggle Up, Sleepy Ones (Good Bks., 2005) or Julie Markes’s Shhhhh! Everybody’s Sleeping (HarperCollins, 2005) for a soothing storytime.––Stacy Dillon, LREI, New York City