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The Insomniacs

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,209 ratings  ·  225 reviews
The wonder of nighttime comes to life in this breathtaking debut

When the Insomniacs move twelve time zones away for Mrs. Insomniac's new job, the family has an impossible time adapting to the change. They try everything to fall asleep at night--take hot baths, count to one thousand, sip mugs of milk--but nothing helps. Venturing out into the dark, they learn there is a who
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published August 16th 2012 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
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3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,209 ratings  ·  225 reviews

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Sep 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books

The Insomniacs by Karina Wolf is a quirky story filled with darkness, shadows, mystery, and fun. I adored the slightly creepy atmosphere, colors, and magic of all the night has to offer.

Unable to capture their ZZZs, the Insomniac family sets out to explore, enjoy, and adapt to their new nocturnal surroundings and life.

”The cloud of animals roused and rushed into the night.
They weren’t mice at all.
They dipped and dived and surfed the air.
They squealed with delight.”

Bandicoots, bats, moon beams, a
Oct 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
What if your Mom found a job that was in a place that was 12 time zones away from where you currently live? Do you think it would be hard to adjust to the time difference? For the Insomniac family, that is definitely the case. The family struggles to stay awake during the day, but at night, when they should be sleeping, they cannot seem to fall into a peaceful slumber like the rest of the town. Will the family ever be able to adapt to their new sleeping schedule? Or will they forever be the fami ...more
Totally a hipster picture book. :)
Kaethe Douglas
There aren't a lot of books for kids that address insomnia. compared to say, the monster under the bed. The general tone of picture books (and parents) is that kids could go to sleep if they were willing, but they won't, just out of spite, or some need for attention, or fear.

So, yay, a book about a kid who Can not fall asleep. Nor can her parents. After staying up all night and learning a few things, they are able to tackle the problem from a fresh perspective.

I loved it. The art provided by the
Sep 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Hmmm. My main quibble is that insomniacs and night owls are not exactly the same thing.

Anyway, the Insomniacs move 12 time zones away and "when they arrived, they found they stayed awake only in the nighttime." After struggling to adapt to normal life, they finally give up and lead their lives at night. The style and illustrations are dark and fun, kind of Tim Burton meets Despicable Me.

Best suited for the public library collection; recommended for ages 4 (read aloud) through 7.
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
Jun 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, picture-book, family
Probably more of a 3.5 for me. Need to think on this one.

The illustrations have a Tim Burton feel to them which works well for this story. The reason for why the family develops insomnia and hence transitions to a more nocturnal life-style seems disconnected for me; but the transition into a nocturnal family was cute.
Jun 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Unique story, stunning illustrations. Love it!!
Jim Erekson
Feb 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Weird illustrations remind me of Edward Gorey, Charles Addams (and Bret Helquist's reboot of these for Lemony Snicket). Its cinematic grammar starts with the 'establishing shot' on the first page and keeps the feel of a movie throughout. Travel is marked like in a 1940s adventure film with dotted lines on a globe. The illustrations of the people are just plain wacky, especially the father. At first, it looked like an optical illusion where you see a face when turning it upside down. But the long ...more
Victoria Whipple
While picture books are mostly out of the age range I serve, I couldn't resist picking up this book. The Insomniac family moves half way around the world in order for the mother to take a new job. However, once they arrive they cannot adjust to the new time zone. They stay awake all night, then fall asleep during work and school. One night, they decide to take a walk in the woods to ask a bear the secret to a good, long sleep. Along their way they find many, many animals who are active during th ...more
Pamela Kramer
Sep 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"The Insomniacs" by Karina Wolf and illustrated by The Brothers Hilts is a lovely picture book about a family who just couldn't go to sleep. In the beginning, they were like a normal family and slept at night.

But when Mrs. Insomniac gets a new job twelve time zones away, things change. The whole family finds that they simply cannot fall asleep at night.

They try everything. Warm milk, meditation, hot baths, crossword puzzles -- nothing helps. When searching for advice from bears (after all, bears
Sep 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with children
This is an interesting story about a family who moves, experiences jet lag, and then changes their schedule to be awake all night and asleep all day. The concept is humorous, but not all that practical.

I have traveled across the world quite a bit in the last year and I'm quite familiar with the disturbing effects of jet lag. It can be quite disruptive to your circadian rhythm, but thankfully, it's very temporary. I do notice that even within my family, however, we have individuals who are early
Beverly Hazell
May 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: toddler-tuesday
I have decided I want to start a collection of childrens books. Being that I didn't start to read until well into the 5th grade I feel like I missed out on a lot of amazing books. Even the one I "read" don't really count. It was more listening to others read and memorizing the story. I was a sneaky little kid. I have now begun my collection of what is sure to be a waste of money in my mothers eyes, but for me will be a wondering adventure into my childhood. While this book did not come out when ...more
When the Insomniac family moves for Mrs. Insomniac's job, all the family members have trouble dealing with the shift in time since their new home is twelve time zones away from their original home. They try all sorts of strategies to get sleep at the right time, but still, they're sleepy during the day. After exploring the beauty and pleasures of the dark hours, they adjust their schedules so that they can sleep during the day and work and play at night. I liked some of the language used in the ...more
Angela Bailey
Sep 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Title / Author / Publication Date:
The insomniacs. / Karina Wolf. Ben Hilts (ill). / 2012.

Genre: Fiction: Humor.

Format: Picturebook - print.

Plot summary:
"When Mr. and Mrs. Insomniac and little Mika move twelve time zones away, they have trouble staying awake during the day and make an interesting discovery about themselves" (NoveList).

Considerations or precautions for readers advisory:
sleeping patterns/behaviors, family, moving

Review citation:
" An offbeat (but satisfying) bedtime story for fans
Mar 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
I picked this one up not because I thought my son would like it, but because I loved the cover art (it is even better inside). The book was about the Insomniac family, a working mom, a stay-at-home father and their daughter Mika. The mom takes a job on the other side of the world, twelve hours away, and the family is unable to go to sleep at night. After the whole family is falling asleep in the morning, they decide to do something about it. They try to go find a bear, thinking that they hiberna ...more
Oct 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Sometimes parents work at night and sleep during the day. What if an entire family decided to flip their schedules by 12 hours? This family, the Insomniacs (though they really should be the Nocturnals) flip their schedules when they move 12 time zones away for the mother's job. Now the family cannot sleep at all during the night and drop off to sleep during the day. Then, when on a walk to discover a way to sleep, they decide that they actually quite like the night time. The cool palette of blue ...more
Aug 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
This was a really sweet book about a family that moved to a different time zone and became Insomniacs. This is a very positive book about family coming together and making the best of a bad situation. The illustrations are really gothic and lively (can that be). The setting of the novel looks dark but, it is really a great bedtime read. Perfect book to read during the Halloween season and before the time change. ;)
Irene Carracher Kistler
Jan 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
As a horrible insomniac, I love this tale. The Insomniac family discovers that nighttime is teeming with life, and maybe is a better choice for their sleepy family. My son would've appreciated this one as a young child. He and I are definitely the family night owls!
Oct 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
A truly delightful picture book! Fans of Neil Gaiman and Edward Gorey will love it in particular. The pictures are simple but evocative, and there is a lot of open space on each page that make the book feel hushed and solemn. Fantastic!
Sep 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-book
3.5? It's a simple story without much complexity (probably won't hold up to many re-readings) but the illustrations (very Edward Gorey/Tim Burtonesque) won me over. That and the Fennec Fox. I'm a fool for a Fennec Fox. The panel of all the nighttime pets walking down the hallway was my favorite.
Nov 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
The world is still very much a day person's place, despite our technologies. A good book for the night people of the world and those who might need a nudge to appreciate them.
Dec 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
so many props for mentioning fennec foxes!
Sep 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016, childrens-books
A cute story about a family who decide to stay away during the night and sleep during the day. Will appeal to all the night owls out there.
Sep 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
beautiful illustrations, adorable, I much prefer the night as well :)
Alethea A
Jul 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
I like the illustrations more than the story.
Oct 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
As an insomniac - I loved this book. The story the wonderful illustrations. It will be a pleasure to recommend and hand-sell this one!
Caroline (Cary)
creepy-charming illustrations make this book unique
Douglas Cootey
Aug 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-book
Art: ★★★★☆
Story: ★★★☆☆

This is a simple tale about a family that lives their lives upside down from everybody else, but it's not a very interesting tale. They're not a particularly interesting family. They don't have unique personalities. So the tale is all about describing how they make the change from living diurnally to living nocturnally. I feel that the prose wasn't playful enough. The art, however, was visually interesting with brilliant touches here and there. The brothers showed a beaut
Logan Phillips
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was a fun book to read. I liked how the illustrator used a thicker matte paper to create a feeling of restlessness weighing you down as you turned through the pages. I feel this book does not have any teachable lessons in it for a class setting; however, I feel it would be a great addition to a class library. It does, in an offhand way, teach a lesson on insomniacs. Maybe a student is struggling with sleep issues and this book could relate to them.
Hannah  Dahl
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
Primary (2-3)

I was not a big fan of this book. I expected it to be completely different than what it was. It was cute enough with the fact that it was drawn darkly because the characters did their living at night but I wasn't a big fan of the over all story. I felt like there could have been more done with the story, or that it could have been done better. I wouldn't recommend this book to any one else nor would I likely purchase it for my own library.
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