Reading/Interest Level: Toddler, Preschool, Primary
Author: Mary Casanova
Illustrator: Nick Wroblewski
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
During the dawning hours, as a child sleeps soundly in bed, the world on the child’s island home starts waking up. Animals, birds, plants, and insects begin their morning routines of waking from their beds, foraging for food, and securing their homes. In the midst of all this outdoor activity, the child is awakened by the sun’s light. However, not even a hearty pancake breakfast can keep the child from running outside to welcome the start of a new day.
In the picture book world, there are countless bedtime stories. But what about books that wake up young readers to the outdoors? Casanova and Wroblewski successfully forge ahead into a new reading realm with Wake Up, Island. Inspired by Casanova’s pre-dawn canoeing trips on Minnesota’s lakes, Wake Up, Island is a call to readers to be aware of the life outside of their human environment and to respectfully experience Nature for themselves. Casanova’s expressive text with Wroblewski’s rich woodcut prints vividly render the intimate morning routines of animals, birds, plants, and insects. But the author and illustrator also draw young readers into Nature’s sunrise schedule by showing how they impact the start of a beautiful day. A fun yet thoughtful sensory read, Wake Up, Island can be a helpful tool to get kids hooked into the vibrant outdoors rather than being entangled into the alternate realities of media.