Too Early

by Nora Ericson (Author) Elly MacKay (Illustrator)

Too Early
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

A gentle, cozy story following a family's bleary-eyed wake-up routine, a little one who's eager to start the day, and the quiet magic of early mornings.

I wake up very early.  Good morning, Sun, on your way at last. You don't wake up nearly as early as I do. Now the wind is waking. Tickle tickle on my cheeks, rustle rustle through the leaves. Birds untuck and start to coo, Whooo whooo, you wake up too early, yes you doooo . . . In sweet, melodic verse written from the perspective of the earliest riser, Too Early follows a family's morning routine, exploring both the groggy haze and the everyday magic inherent in the predawn hours of a loving household.

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Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review
Cozy, sumptuous, and stirring—the perfect way to greet the dawn.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

In short, conversational verse lines, Ericson (the Dill & Bizzy series) and MacKay (In the Clouds) chronicle a morning in the house of a young early riser. Standing in their parents' bedroom doorway holding a stuffie, a child portrayed with light brown skin, curly hair, and starred pajamas rouses the adults. "Shhhh, don't wake the baby," the mother says, offering sleepy smooches; "Too early," the father groans, before grabbing his robe and shuffling downstairs. Attentive to noises and sensations ("Burble burble goes the coffee pot. Beep beep"), the text captures warmth and affection as father and child head for the front porch, where the moon still shines bright: "Snuggle in, but watch your elbows./ (Careful not to bump the coffee!)." Layered images in shadowy blue hues gradually illuminate, exploring the way the first faint light of dawn steadily grows brighter, changing from dark blues to pinks and, finally, golden yellow. Images of the closely cuddled duo make it clear that though the father grumbles ("You sure do wake up early"), sunrise and a shooting star--and fleeting one-on-one time--represent a gift in the ordinary moments before a day's "rush rush." Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Sara Crowe, Pippin Properties. Illustrator's agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Jr./Folio Literary. (Nov.)

Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

PreS-K--A young child is the first one out of bed, quietly waking up Mama and Daddy from their slumbers. The parents remind the little one not to wake the baby, but there is nothing to fear. The child, like the morning, is tranquil and quiet, just looking for some reassurance and affection. The child and Daddy get some drinks and snuggle on the front porch to enjoy the gentle dawn. While at first it seems as if the child woke too early, it's just in time. The lovely use of color in the illustrations conjures the sense of security and peace that comes with the promise of a new day. The cool blue of predawn shifts to the purples and pinks of sunrise and then to the bright yellow of the emerging sun. The wonderful and familiar details, such as the hallway night light, the half-dozing/half-awake shuffle of the father before the coffee kicks in, and the doggies doing their morning upward and downward stretches, bring the morning to life. Onomatopoeia and descriptive language throughout the text make this a great selection for language arts integration. VERDICT The surprise for listeners or lapsitters that it's not too early after all will bring home this comforting reminder to slow down and enjoy every sweet moment.--Alyssa Annico

Copyright 2022 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Nora Ericson
Nora Ericson studied painting at Yale University and writing for children at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Originally from central New York, she now lives in Portland, Oregon, with two kids, two dogs, and two cats. Besides reading and writing, she loves cooking, tromping in the woods, and whittling spoons while daydreaming of her future miniature donkey farm. She's also the author of Dill & Bizzy: An Odd Duck and a Strange Bird and Dill & Bizzy: Opposite Day. Elly MacKay is an internationally recognized paper artist and children's book author and illustrator. She wrote and illustrated the picture books Red Sky at Night, If You Hold a Seed, and Butterfly Park, among others. The distinctive three-dimensional quality in her works is made by setting up layers of painted paper in a miniature theater. She lights the scene and photographs it to create her unique illustrations. MacKay lives in Owen Sound, Ontario, with her family.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Abrams Books for Young Readers
Publication date
November 20, 2022
BISAC categories
JUV029000 - Juvenile Fiction | Nature & the Natural World | General
JUV015010 - Juvenile Fiction | Health & Daily Living | Daily Activities
JUV010000 - Juvenile Fiction | Bedtime & Dreams
JUV013000 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | General
Library of Congress categories
Picture books
Family life

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