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Children's Fiction Bedtime & Dreams

I Dare You Not to Yawn

by (author) Helene Boudreau

illustrated by Serge Bloch

Candlewick Press
Initial publish date
Mar 2013
Bedtime & Dreams, Senses & Sensation, Humorous Stories
  • Board book

    Publish Date
    Apr 2017
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2013
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 0 to 3
  • Grade: p to 12


Just try to resist this comical — and infectious — cautionary fable that will have even bedtime-avoiders gladly snuggling up for a nightly challenge.

A yawn can land you in your pj’s and under the covers before you can blink and say “Baa baa black sheep.” So clamp your mouth shut and look away from your sleepy dog, stay away from your cuddly blanket, and whatever you do, don’t think of baby orangutans stretching their long arms out for a snuggly hug. Otherwise, you might find your mouth opening wide and letting out a great big yawny yaaaaaawn — hey, you were supposed hold it in! A hilarious read-aloud that is so much fun, kids will beg for it again and again, whatever the consequences.

About the authors

Hélène Boudreau is a Canadian writer and artist. A native of Isle Madame, Nova Scotia, she writes fiction and non-fiction for children and young adults from her home in Markham, Ontario. She's the author of seven novels for children including the first Red Dune Adventure, Keep Out! and Acadian Star, which was nominated for the 2009–2010 Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award. Visit her website at

Helene Boudreau's profile page

Renowned French illustrator SERGE BLOCH has illustrated over three hundred books, and his illustrations regularly appear in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post and Time Magazine. His many awards include a Society of Illustrators Gold Medal, France's Baobab Award and the Bologna Ragazzi Award. Serge shares his time between Paris and New York City.

Serge Bloch's profile page

Editorial Reviews

This is a charming bedtime story done in ink with digital colorization. The layout is very simple and uncluttered. The book will be easy to present, either one on one or in a storytime setting. With its cartoon illustrations and subtle humor, it is a fun selection.
—School Library Journal

The funny, melodramatic prose is cleverly extended by Bloch’s cartoonlike illustrations that emphasize the emotions of the little boy who is desperately trying not to yawn...Just the ticket for nap-time or bedtime sharing.
—Kirkus Reviews

The subversive narrator, who so clearly understands the indignity and outrage of bedtime, makes a wonderful ally, and Bloch’s visual jests make this a book that promises to elicit not yawns, but guffaws.
—Publishers Weekly

Boudreau and Bloch work seamlessly here to deliver the funny...Bloch’s signature ink-and-digitally colored illustrations pop on white backgrounds on some pages, while others involve patterned backgrounds and dramatic full-page, mouth- open-wide shots. With lots of yawning sound effects, share this read-aloud at bedtime.

Bloch’s lively illustrations, hand-drawn in ink and colored digitally, have the humorous, cartoonish verve of Jules Feiffer, and the ginger-haired, big-headed young narrator is amusing in his futile attempts to suppress the traitorous yawns. ... This would make a surprisingly effective introduction to a primary-grade science lesson on yawning or a good bedtime book for encouraging somnolence (if parents can get through it without succumbing to slumber themselves).
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Boudreau’s pacing is impeccable; Bloch’s stylish digitally colored ink illustrations amplify the text’s humor while helping to telegraph its thinly disguised subliminal message. ... Stop haranguing noncompliant children at bedtime; I Dare You Not to Yawn will put them right where you want them…though be prepared to fall under its spell, too. Resistance is futile.
—The Horn Book

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