Foreword: My kids have been asking me to publish this story for years but I lack an artist and publishing contacts to do so. I wrote this many years ago for my own children and told it many times. I based the idea on a simple scientific mechanism, yawns are contagious. It always worked for my own children and now they want their own copy for their children, so without further ado . . .
The Yawn That Ate The World
Johnny did not want to go to bed just yet.
He was not tired.
He was all set for bed.
He had brushed his teeth, and washed his face and hands.
He had changed into his pajamas and gotten his good night drink of water.
His parents had read stories and tucked him in.
He was snug as a bug, but he was just not tired.
So he got his toy soldiers,
his blue stuffed elephant Joe,
and his fine martian hero with space suit and all
and then Johnny curled up in his covers to play.
Joe the elephant watched over his shoulder perched on his pillow
while an army of soldiers came after the hero
when all of a sudden . . .
YAWN –(reader actually yawns, fake it)–
but, where were the soldiers?
Johnny looked high and low in the covers,
but he could not see his soldiers, he said
“now where could a whole army go?” when . . .
YAWN–(actually yawn, fake it again)–
and now where was the hero?
had he lost him too,?
while searching for the soldiers?
was he under the pillow? then . . .
YAWN–(actually Yawn, still faking it?)
What is going on?!
said Johnny to Joe the blue elephant,
who now was not there . . .
–(large yawn now, by now you and the children are probably yawning)
Where is my pillow?
That’s not OK!
Mom’s get mad about missing pillows.
Johnny got up to look under the bed when . . .
YAAAWWWNNNNN–(really exaggerated yawn this time)
He had no bed.
no bed at all!
and no chair!
but an empty room.
Johnny was upset now
and starting to get afraid when . . .
YAAAWWWWNNNN—(another exaggerated yawn)
He found himself lying in the yard in his pajamas looking up at the sky.
There was his bike,
and there was the car
but the house!
Where was the house?!
Just then Johnny heard a loud bump
and the distinct sound of his mother vacuuming the hallway,
as he sat up he was very surprised to find he was in his bed,
and all around his bed on the floor lay his toys,
soldiers and hero and space suit and blue elephant Joe,
even his pillow lay on the floor.
Just then the door opened and mom came in and . . .
YAWN (one last Yawn)
Mom said “Good morning sleepy head, time to get up.”
addendum–this story works best as a bedtime story to a small child in their bed, where it can be interactive, where you can look under the covers and pillows for the soldiers and so forth as you read the story. If you read the story interactively and actually yawn throughout everyone will be yawning by the end.