By: Jane Smiley

Illustrated by: Lauren Castillo

Published: April 1, 2016

Publisher: Two Lions


Jane Smiley, the well-known Iowa-educated author who has written award-winning novels, has now written her first children’s picture book.  When our children were young, I loved books that were perfect for bedtime because reading was part of our nighttime ritual. I typically read the same books with a few new ones thrown in from time to time. But part of the ritual was reading stories that got the kids ready for quiet time and sleeping. TWENTY YAWNS would have easily become one of our favorites.

After a fun family day on the beach, Lucy is being put to bed by her mom. Lucy and her mom fall asleep to the book her mom is reading. Later in the evening, Lucy wakes up to a dark room and a quiet house. As she explores and gathers up her stuffed animal friends to keep her company in bed, she starts to get sleepy again. Reading this at bedtime and mimicking all the yawns in the story is guaranteed to get your little one off to dreamland.

Castillo has created beautiful illustrations of the family on the beach and a gorgeous sunset to close out their day. Once in Lucy’s home, the more muted images show that we are preparing for bedtime. The adorable expressions on Lucy’s stuffed animals give each of them a personality and your child will want to go and gather up their stuffed animals for bedtime.

Even though I read this as an eBook, I still found it enjoyable. The text, in the format of an eBook, is highlighted by a box when it is the next to read. This will help even your earliest readers to follow along on the pages while you read.

Jane Smiley may have a found a way to grow her audience as a children’s book author and I certainly think hope she continues writing for all her fans, new and old.

Jane Smiley – source

Jane Smiley is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist. Born in Los Angeles, California, Smiley grew up in Webster Groves, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, and graduated from John Burroughs School. She obtained an A.B. at Vassar College, then earned an M.F.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. While working towards her doctorate, she also spent a year studying in Iceland as a Fulbright Scholar. From 1981 to 1996, she taught at Iowa State University.  Her best-selling A Thousand Acres, a story based on William Shakespeare’s King Lear, received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1992. It was adapted into a film of the same title in 1997. In 1995, she wrote her sole television script produced, for an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street. Her novella The Age of Grief was made into the 2002 film The Secret Lives of Dentists.

In 2001, Smiley was elected a member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters. For more on Jane Smiley, check out her website,
To see my review of the first book in Jane Smiley’s newest trilogy, SOME LUCK, click HERE.

To purchase a copy of TWENTY YAWNS, click the photo below:

I’ll be linking up with Booking Mama and other bloggers in her Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. Click HERE, to see other posts related to children’s and YA books.

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Thanks to the publisher for sending an eBook for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. I was not compensated in any way for this review. If you choose to purchase the book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting 

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  1. bermudaonion on April 2, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    This looks so sweet!

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