The Girl Who Stayed Awake
by Karen Rosario
This is a story about a girl named Lucy-Go-Lucky. It is written in rhyme and composed of much beautiful poetry. Lucy has a vivid imagination. She has trouble sleeping, but when she dreams, her dreams are so real! One night she decides that she wants to dream of birds singing, of sun and of snow. She finds the Planet Ping where there are birds with purple eyes and beaks who sing while they are upside down. She dances and parties all night and does not want to leave. They give her a baby Pingle; but when she wakes up, it is gone. Feeling depressed, the following night Lucy decides to be a queen in a land of dragons and castles. She meets the Pongles who have buttons for eyes and teeth and rubber tires for skin. But they don’t want her to rule them in the land of Pong, and she must fight the Pongles all night long. She traps them in her sack, but when she awakes in the morning, they are gone. She is grumpy and does not pay attention in school. That night she resolves not to sleep. When she does succumb, she is dreaming of riding on a horse through the forest. There she meets the Shadow Grudge who lives in the Planet of Lost Hope. He presents her with a huge stinky cake to eat. After eating it all night long, she begins to look like the ugly Grudge who has peppercorn eyes and feet made of moldy bread. In the morning the Grudge is standing beside her bed. Lucy draws a picture of the Grudge and tries to flatten him in a book. Her father wakes her and tells her it is time to go to school. She does not want to get out of bed. He reassures her that night dreams are not important, we can make our dreams reality by working hard and using our brains. So Lucy decides to face her fears.
The author informs us that she has been influenced by Dr. Seuss, Edward Lear, Jim Henson, and the Sendaks. You can certainly see this influence in the poetry she writes, The mostly black and white illustrations and rambling script stand in stark contrast to the explicit vivid images in her dreams. The book needs strong parental or teacher guided discussion, but it will serve as a starting point for lots of interesting conversations and comparisons for older children. I recommend adding it to your poetry collection.
You can download this book as a pdf at http://freekidsbooks.org or purchase it in Lulu Marketplace (see Link below)