Lauren Castillo’s Art: Nana in the Country, It’s Not Time for Sleeping, Twenty Yawns, The Ramble Shamble Children

Lauren Castillo’s bold outlines and childlike compositions make these books accessible to young readers and their parents, too. Her books are universally cheerful and vibrant, whether she is the author and illustrator both, or working with an author.

*Nana in the Country by Lauren Castillo. Clarion Books, 2012, 30 pages.

Nana in the Country

Reading Level: Picture Book, ages 0-4

Recommended for: ages 2-6

Nana’s back! This time to visit her grandson at his country farm. When he went to stay with her in the city (see our starred review), she helped him overcome his fear of loud crowds and noisy traffic by discovering all the fun city life had to offer. Now it’s his turn: he has so many magical things to show her! But Nana appears to already know about the livestock and crawly things and peaceful evenings on the porch. What can he show her that’s truly magical? A lot, as it turns out: not the animals and the front porch, but all the things a country boy can do: feed the chickens, rescue the sheep, and take her for a walk all by himself. “She says [the country] is filled with the most magical thing–ME!”

All the warmth of Nana in the City (a Caldecott honor winner) carries over to this book. Again Nana encourages her grandson, this time to share what he knows and be confident in what he can do. The two books would be a great read-aloud combo to cozy up with on a comfortable armchair.

Overall Rating: 4.75

  • Worldview/moral value: 4.5
  • Artistic/literary value: 5

*It Is Not Time for Sleeping: A Bedtime Story by Lisa Graff, illustrated by Lauren Castillo. Clarion, 2016. 32 pages.

It is not time for sleeping

Reading Level: Picture Book, ages 0-4

Recommended for: ages 0-4

A pitch-perfect bedtime book that celebrates a loving family: mom, dad, little boy, and a puppy. Everyone is part of the bedtime routine in this cumulative tale. The soothing text builds to a satisfying conclusion… when it is time for sleeping. Highly recommended as a bedtime story. Be sure you are all gathered together to read it, even your pets!

Overall Rating: 5

  • Worldview/moral value: 5
  • Artistic/literary value: 5

Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley, illustrated by Lauren Castillo. Two Lions, 2016. 32 pages.

Twenty Yawns

Reading Level: Picture Book, ages 0-4

Recommended for: ages 0-4

Twenty Yawns is another sweet bedtime story, this time featuring a girl and her parents at the beach. After a long, full day at the beach, everyone is tired: Mom, Dad, Girl, … and all the stuffed animals! Even the pictures on the walls are yawning. A delightful romp through a sleepy girl’s imagination at the end of a delightful romp on the beach. Note: the family is an interracial family! Kudos to Castillo for including this element in this sweet story.

Overall Rating: 4.25

  • Worldview/moral value: 4
  • Artistic/literary value: 4.5

The Ramble Shamble Children by Christina Soontornvat and illustrated by Lauren Castillo. Nancy Paulsen Books, 2021, 32 pages.

Ramble Shamble Childen

Reading Level: Picture Book, ages 4-8

Recommended for: ages 4-8

The Ramble Shamble children live in a ramble shamble house: the sort that looks like it’s been added on to here and there or that children are the caretakers and simply doing whatever they think best. Well, that’s exactly what’s going on! The five children are caring for their beloved house just fine until they see a picture of a “proper” house. Suddenly, their ramble shamble house doesn’t look charming and homey. The kids get to work. And they work hard, so hard, in fact, that they somehow misplace their youngest brother. When they find him, they also find a renewed appreciation for their house in its ramble shamble state. Sometimes, you can be too “proper.” This one’s cute, but it lacks the punch of some of the others on this list. Still, look for it in your local library!

Overall Rating: 4

  • Worldview/moral value: 4
  • Artistic/literary value: 4

Read more about our ratings here.

Also at Redeemed Reader:

  • Review: Another lovely picture book illustrated by Lauren Castillo is Yard Sale.
  • Review: Castillo started a cute-looking early reader/chapter book series about a hedgehog: The Story of Us.
  • Resource: Browse our Picture Book reviews for more books to read with your littles!

We are participants in the Amazon LLC affiliate program; purchases you make through affiliate links like the one below may earn us a commission. Read more here.

Purchase Nana in the Country from Amazon.

Purchase Nana in the City from Amazon.

Purchase It’s Not Time for Sleeping from Amazon.

Purchase Twenty Yawns from Amazon.

Purchase The Ramble Shamble Children from Amazon.

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Betsy Farquhar

Betsy is the Managing Editor at Redeemed Reader. When she reads ahead for you, she uses sticky notes instead of book darts and willfully dog ears pages even in library books. Betsy is a fan of George MacDonald, robust book discussions, and the Oxford comma. She lives with her husband and their three children in the beautiful Southeast.

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