Just in Time for New Year’s!

New Years - Cover

Written and Illustrated by Karen Gray Ruelle

Holiday House, 2004

Every night, Emily heard snoring.  Every morning, she told her brother, Harry.

The plot in a nutshell:  A pair of siblings practice staying up until midnight on New Year’s Eve

So much effort just to stay awake!

So much effort just to stay awake!

There are four mini-chapters in this book.  In the first, Harry and Emily ask their parents for permission to stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve, which is four nights away.  Their parents agree and Harry and Emily plan to practice, although Emily is sure Harry’s snoring will keep them both awake.  In the second, Harry and Emily try a few different strategies for staying awake, including taking a daytime nap, but they still find themselves dropping off to sleep too early.  In the third, it’s New Year’s Eve and they prepare for New Year’s Eve by getting noisemakers, bubbly drinks and party hats.  They listen to holiday music and open the windows to let in the cold air, hoping that will keep them awake.  Emily closes her eyes for a moment, then she hears a loud snore.  She looks at Harry, who is asleep, but not snoring.  In the final chapter, Emily uses the loud noise as inspiration and sets alarms for just before midnight.  Harry and Emily pass the time by counting stars, but fall asleep doing so.  Once again, a loud snore wakes Emily up, but Harry is awake and tells her that she is the one doing the snoring.  Then they hear the alarms going off and they run to their parents.  They count down the last moments of the year and wish each other a Happy New Year!

Author/illustrator Karen Gray Ruelle has written several books about these characters, all referred to as Harry and Emily Adventures.  Many of these books revolve around holidays, including Christmas, Easter, April Fool, Mother’s Day, Halloween, Valentine’s Day and Thanksgiving.  Harry and Emily have a very typical sibling relationship, in that they are friends who give each other grief, but still share a very close bond.  They seem to enjoy coming up with fun adventures to share, which always made for fun times around my house when my kids were little.  The artwork is pretty simple and the text is specifically geared for readers in the 1st or 2nd grade.

And what did we learn?  What I take away from this book is that staying up until midnight is more fun when you can do it with the ones you love.

Have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve, everyone!  See you in 2014!

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