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Twenty Yawns

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  2,388 ratings  ·  376 reviews
Featuring lyrical text and beautiful illustrations, this bedtime tale from Pulitzer Prize winner Jane Smiley and Caldecott Honor recipient Lauren Castillo evokes the splashy fun of the beach and the quietude of a moonlit night, with twenty yawns sprinkled in for children to discover and count.

As her mom reads a bedtime story, Lucy drifts off. But later, she awakens in a da
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published April 1st 2016 by Two Lions
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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 ·  2,388 ratings  ·  376 reviews

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Ron Charles
Feb 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Most novelists don’t want to put readers to sleep, but Jane Smiley hopes you’ll nod off with her next book.

“Twenty Yawns” is Smiley’s first picture book. It marks a somnolent shift for the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, who recently completed her three-volume “Last Hundred Years” trilogy. In an email interview from her home in Carmel Valley, Calif., Smiley said she came up with the idea almost a decade ago when she wanted to add some. . . .

To read the rest of this interview with Jane Smiley, go
Dec 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, childrens-books
Twenty Yawns is author Jane Smiley’s first picture book. Although she has written five YA novels, this is for young children. She is probably best known for her adult novels, winning the Pulitzer Prize for her novel A Thousand Acres but she also has a rather lengthy list of additional novels, non-fiction, short stories, and YA novels.

Because, of course, as a children’s book, this will likely be most often read to a child, it’s important that it not be a bore to the parent(s) as much as comforti
Dave Schaafsma
Nov 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
Each year I and my family read and rate all the Goodreads picture book nominees. This one is nominated for 2016. I make a few comments and then add their separate ratings and a comment. There's 15 and this is the second being rated.

Supergroup book? National Book Award fiction winner Smiley (1000 Acres), and Castillo, Caldecott Honor winner. Cute. Mixed race family. ALL the animals at bedtime, not just one fave. 3 stars.

Tara (my wife): 3 stars. Cute. I liked the aspect Lyra did.
Harry (11): 3 star
Nov 14, 2016 rated it liked it
What I liked about this book was the artwork and the inclusion of both parents in a black/biracial family. The reason for only the three stars is that there wasn't any kind of lesson learned and it didn't hold my attention for long. I wouldn't probably reread to my own future children. ...more
Pamela Hubbard
Adorable book...but torture for parents to read!!! There are so many "yawns" to act out during the story that I find myself exhausted and ready for bed myself after reading it! ...more
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Lucy spent a long time playing at the beach with her mother and father. The three of them played in the waves, dug holes in the sand, and rolled down the dunes. Soon they were all yawning and Mom declared it was a day for early bedtime! As they got ready for bed, everyone was yawning and Lucy’s mom even fell asleep reading the bedtime book. In the middle of the night the moon shone brightly through Lucy’s window and she was suddenly wide awake. She tiptoed out of bed and through the living room ...more
Oh my god if this doesn't put them to sleep you are doing it wrong. Stop giving them methamphetamines after 7pm. Lovely, wonderful, placid.... zzzzzz :) ...more
Mar 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for Gentle, Sweet Bedtime Books
Lucy and her parents are very sleepy after a happy day spent at the beach in this debut picture-book from Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jane Smiley. Returning home, they head for bed, with Lucy's mom tucking her in and reading her a story. Waking up sometime in the night, Lucy realizes that she is missing something: her stuffed bear Molasses, and all of her other toys. It is only after she fetches these companions from the living room, and puts them to bed, that she herself can drift off...

I w
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Although Jane Smiley's gentle, sweet story occasionally lacks flow, its bedtime potential is undeniable: I bet you couldn't get through this picturebook without yawning yourself at least once (and in this case I mean it as a compliment!).

Lauren Castillo's illustrations are both vibrant and cozy:

I also love the comforting circular framing and the playful typography in Twenty Yawns:

Finally, I appreciate Castillo's use of simultaneous succession to indicate the movement and passage of time within a
Oct 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
very cute. I know some people look for this so I will say it's an interracial couple, white dad and African American mom and a mixed little girl. I did reread it to count the yawns and there are, in fact, twenty. ...more
Shawn Ly’s Book Notes & Quotes
My daughter and I couldn't stop yawning while reading this book; how perfect for a bedtime story!

With beautiful illustrations, which to me seem reminiscent of Steam Train, Dream Train what's not to love?!
Scott Fillner
Mar 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Such a wonderful story that our family can relate to. I loved watching my children smile as they made connections and had fun trying to count yawns. The soft, beautiful artwork is so inviting.
This book made us so sleepy.
Robert Rogers
Jul 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best children's books ever! My grandchildren love for me to read this to them again and again. It is the story of a little girl who spends a long day at the beach, and when she gets home and gets ready for bed, she can't sleep. So, she gets up and puts her stuffed animals in the bed with her. The story has excellent illustrations, and speaks to the heart of children. Incidentally, the illustraitons show her parents as two different races, something never mentioned in the book, but sho ...more
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Beautiful illustrations by Lauren Castillo! "The artwork was created digitally with painted textures." Little girl Lucy has a tiring day, but manages to stay awake longer than her parents that night. Now what? ...more
Danielle Mootz
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-books
Cute story but the best part was figuring out how the book got its title.
Kara Hartman
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Twenty Yawns is a cute story that portrays a multi-racial girl's trip to the beach and then the routine of bedtime. It shows the fear of being alone in the dark and the connection most children have to a stuffed animal. The artwork is beautiful and shows a realistic setting in a cartoonish style. I would recommend this book for younger audiences such as K-1st grade. ...more
Baby Bookworm
Oct 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: our-reviews

This review was originally written for The Baby Bookworm. Visit us for new picture books reviews daily!

Hello, everyone! Today, we read Twenty Yawns, written by Jane Smiley and illustrated by Lauren Castillo. This is a sweet bedtime story about the sometimes-spooky time right before bed.

Lucy and her parents spend all day playing at the beach, and when they all get home, they’re all very tired. Lucy’s mom begins to read her a bedtime story, but falls asleep before it’s through. Lucy is left alone
Mar 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
My son asks me to read this book every single night. (I'm not kidding. Imagine his sweet voice asking, "Twenty Yawns, please, Mama?") My favorite part about this book is that there are many interactive sections that we can read together. He can't read yet, but he is slowly learning sight words and loves reading the "Flap! Flap! Flap! Flap!" of the umbrella and each of the twenty "yawns." He also tells me what Lucy is doing on each page. There are a lot of bedtime books out there, but this book t ...more
Oct 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cute! Beautiful art.

Very cute simple story about bedtime.
I absolutely love the artwork, and it actually kind of made me sleepy and start yawning. I actually really like the writing because I could relate to the little girl . When I was a little girl, I had some of the same thoughts being up at night when everyone else is asleep. It can get a little creepy, and I remember crawling up with my stuffed animals to make me feel better. Admittedly I might've done it a couple times as an adult too. Shh
Story----three stars
Illustrations----four stars

It is Castillo's illustrations that are appealing to me in the title as I have enjoyed her stand alone picture books and illustrations which are without the addition of a well known adult author. The storyline if fine, but the choice of words is nothing special, just because an author does well in one genre does not mean they can transition to another literary area. And the idea that a child will look for twenty yawns in the story because of the tit
A beautifully illustrated book about going to sleep after a wonderful day. I found the two-page spreads of Lucy with the moon and Lucy with her stuff animals in the living room to be especially profound. Twenty Yawns is a perfect book for bedtime, and is structured in a way that allows for audience involvement. After sharing Twenty Yawns with my daughter, I can tell this is going to be a staple in our bedtime routine for a years to come.

On a separate note, I noticed the publisher of this book w
Mar 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a cute little storybook for pre-schoolers. I'm not a parent or even an aunt but this was one of the choice's in this month's Kindle First program so I picked it on a whim. I'm glad I did! The story of Lucy made me smile and the artwork was beautiful and colorful. Plus, diversity (Lucy is the daughter of a mixed-race couple).

I really loved this line...simple yet lovely.
The moon shone through the window, a silver veil that fell across the floor. Everything looked mysterious, even Lucy's ow
Silas Grothen
Summary: This story is about a little girl named Lucy. Lucy spends all day at the beach with her folks. Afterward, she is super tired. Her mom and dad fall asleep early, leaving Lucy awake to yawn the night away with her stuffed animals.

I would use this book to explain cause and effect. I would explain that beCAUSE Lucy and her family were at the beach all day, the EFFECT was that everyone was super tired. I would then assign a worksheet with more cause and effect practice.

Smiley, J., & Castillo
Joanne Roberts
Feb 07, 2017 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the book and adored the art. Especially appreciated the engaging title. The story starts perfectly: great opening scene and concise text. I liked the progression of events, and the character of the girl shines through with very little actual description, but through showing (not telling) from a combination of action and art. I love that this book features a multiracial couple without comment, reinforcing the idea by showing, not telling. I wish the book had concluded differently, but o ...more
Aug 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
A simple, sweet story about a lovely day with family, this picture book for is as endearing as can be! The main character reminds me of my daughter, and in fact, I can't wait to read this to her. The illustrations give a wonderful sense of comfort and love, with softly rounded shapes, broad strokes, and textured coloring-- and I LOVE the depiction of a happy biracial family. Read this to your little ones! ...more
Nov 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Cute and very warm sorry, that made me yawn twice (goal reached). The colors were beautiful, especially at the beach part, and it was very nice to have a family with ethnical diversity. The story was simple, but efficient and realistic, easy to understand for children and a pleasant read as an adult.
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-book, kids
The story feels very disjointed and lacking flow. A few pages on a day at the beach (with a wonderfully mixed-race family) then the rest is on going to sleep and yawning. Cute illustrations. I think sleeping with all of the stuffed animals is a cute kid-comfort thing to do. Not sure why specifically "20" in the title. ...more
Feb 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pbf-general
Twenty Yawns is a sweet bedtime story, and yes, I counted the yawns, and there are 20. I loved the textured looking illustrations, and the contrast between the bright day at the beach and the dim night at home. The colors of the sunset were especially beautiful.
Apr 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Beautiful illustrations - this would be a great bedtime or pajama time story. The kids in storytime had a great time picking out what was going on in the illustrations, and practicing their yawns along the way.
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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 a A.B. at Vassar College, then earned a 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

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