Cover image for Everyone's awake
Everyone's awake
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Reading Level:
610 Lexile.
In this house, when everyone stays awake at night, things get very strange, what with Mom on the roof, and Grandma playing cards with the ghost of long-dead Grandpa Paul, and even the dog and cat are acting weird; as the family's doings become more and more bizarre, the narrator starts to wonder--what on earth will happen when morning finally comes.


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Follow an insomniac family's chaotic night in this hilarious, clever picture book. The crickets are all peeping; the moon shines on the lake. We should be soundly sleeping, but everyone's awake! As the night goes on, this family goes wild. Dad's baking bread; Mom's on the roof; Grandma's playing cards with a ghost. And between the dog, the cat, Sister, and Brother, there's at least three different wars being waged! A modern classic perfect for read-aloud and bedtime alike, this raucous tale from bestselling author Colin Meloy will have kids giggling their way into sweet and silly dreams.

Author Notes

Colin Meloy was born in Helena, Montana on October 5, 1974. He graduated from the creative writing program at the University of Montana in Missoula in 1998. He became the singer and songwriter for the band the Decemberists. In 2004, he wrote a 100-page book on The Replacements' third album, Let It Be. He is also the author of the children's series The Wildwood Chronicles, which is illustrated by his wife Carson Ellis.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3--5--The plot of this picture book is summed up by the title. There is a large family living under one roof and they should be sleeping--but everyone is awake, including our young narrator. Written by Meloy, frontman of the band The Decemberists, the text frequently makes literary and pop culture references for adults to catch, like shout-outs to Prince and Baudelaire. Our narrator expresses quiet bewilderment at the antics of his siblings, parents, grandparents, and even the family pets. Illustrated by Harris, Dave Eggers's frequent collaborator, spreads start off delightfully simple but quickly grow more hectic as the family's insomniac activities intensify. Pictures are packed with details, inclusing clever allusions to other picture books and chapter books for young readers. The plot turns increasingly ridiculous, with brother and sister fighting an international war. However, the text ends with a crowd-pleasing underwear joke sure to crack up anyone, even those who might not follow the rest of the action. VERDICT Recommended for youngsters (and their grownups) who come from or enjoy observing a family with more quirks than every cast member of a Wes Anderson movie combined.--Chance Lee Joyner, Wilton Public and Gregg Free Library, NH

Publisher's Weekly Review

Harris (What Can a Citizen Do?) opens this comic romp with a nighttime view of a dark, brooding structure--half haunted mansion, half lighthouse. A page turn sets the lights ablaze as the child narrator discovers that, rather than sleeping, "everyone's awake." Things start quietly ("Grandma's at her needlework./ Dad is baking bread") but soon escalate: "The dog's into the eggnog:/ Mom's tap dancing to Prince/ while Dad is on the laptop/ buying ten-yard bolts of chintz." Bold, silk-screen-esque forms coalesce into tapestries of gleeful chaos for the multiethnic family. Mom clutches the eggnog punch bowl with one arm and a vinyl record with the other; pajama-clad Dad lies belly-down with his laptop. The siblings aren't shy, either: "My brother's now reciting/ every line from Condorman/ while my sister is trapezing/ from the kitchen ceiling fan." Gothic mystery creeps in, too, as a ghostly shipwreck outside produces "long-dead/ Grandpa Paul" for a game of whist. Manic though it may be, the family's live-and-let-live attitude toward its members' rule-breaking peculiarities makes this rip-roaring romp by Meloy (The Whiz Mob and the Grenadine Kid) defiantly wholesome. Ages 5--8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Mar.)

Horn Book Review

Meloy and Harris depict one family's anarchical bedtime routine within their ramshackle lighthouse-esque domicile. -Rollicking rhymes, narrated by a young family member, set the scene: "We all got / tucked in early. / A full tomorrow waits. / But here / It's almost midnight. / And everyone's awake!" The activities listed in the peppy text begin sedately enough, with Grandma doing needlework and Dad baking bread. But as the night wears on, the events get wilder and wilder: "the cat is giving poke tattoos and prank-calling the cops." The protagonist, who is the only one trying to get to sleep, mostly observes and wrings hands ("I'm really not quite certain how much more that I can take"). But just as our narrator decides to give up on restfulness-the sun comes up, and the wild family members' eyelids go down. Harris's exuberant, page-filling illustrations ("printed in three spot-colors...grayscale plates were rendered with India ink, charcoal, and pencil") feature richly saturated hues. While the outside is all midnight-blues and whites (think Tomi Ungerer), nothing about the indoors is conducive to sleep, with a bright sunshiny yellow that would disrupt anyone's circadian rhythms. Elissa Gershowitz May/June 2020 p.104(c) Copyright 2020. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

An energetic, insomniac romp of an anti-bedtime book. A wakeful child narrator recounts the goings-on in a large, multiracial family's zany household long after everyone should be asleep. Rhyming verse with a singsong cadence details activities ranging from the mundane ("Grandma's at her needlework. / Dad is baking bread. / My brother's making laundry lists / of every book he's read") to the bizarre ("Now Mom just took an audience / with Queen Sigrid the Third. / My brother has just taught the cat a dozen dirty words"). It's a rollicking read-aloud, but inconsistent line breaks may cause some to slip up upon first reading. Pop-culture references pep things up and range from the stodgy (Sinatra, "Clementine") to the very contemporary (poke tattoos, the film Condorman), though the conceit drags on a bit too long. Throughout, Harris' illustrations have a retro feel that evokes, at turns, Tomie Ungerer and Maira Kalman, and they expand on the details of the text to ratchet up the humor and dramabuilding on the mention of a lake to depict the setting not as a mere house but an elaborate lighthouse. The conclusion shows the narrator descending the stairs to find everyone asleep at daybreak, a predictable, yet satisfying, end.Don't sleep on this one. (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Late at night, in a lighthouse-topped island mansion, a young boy lies in bed listening to the sounds of his family, all still awake. It begins innocently Grandma's at her needlework / Dad is baking bread with the family partaking in ordinary activities, but then, as a dripping, green ghost ship rises out of the surrounding waters, the energy begins to build, and the family's antics grow increasingly frenzied. Meloy's musical text, always bouncing forward in Seussian rhythms, builds along with the action: Grandma's on to playing whist / with long-dead / Grandpa Paul, / and the dog / has started throwing darts / against my / bedroom wall. It's an exercise in energetic absurdity, a busier, edgier, and more grounded take on Eric Carle's The Nonsense Show, with Harris' primary spot-colored illustrations capturing the intensity and charm. References to topics such as Baudelaire, Pulitzers, and coup d'etats will go over youngsters' heads but nonetheless fit with the ludicrous escalation. By the end, the characters crash in exhaustion, and little ones should, too. An enticing bedtime alternative.--Ronny Khuri Copyright 2020 Booklist