As adults know well, bedtime for young children can be a quick wind-down or a long, drawn-out ordeal. These books about bedtime will help to bring a peaceful close to the day.
“Good Night, Sleep Tight”, by Mem Fox, Illustrated by Judy Horacek, 2012, Orchard Books, ages 3-6.
This bedtime story features Bonnie, Ben, and Skinny Doug, their babysitter. To lull the children to sleep, Doug shares his favorite nursery rhymes. As if they have not heard them before, the children beg for more, until Doug decides it’s time for a kiss and lights out. Mem Fox, known for her tales for young children, gives the nursery rhymes many of us grew up with, a modern setting, which seems to bring these favorites to life in new ways.
“Max and the Won’t Go to Bed Show” by Mark Sperring, Illustrated by Sarah Warburton, 2014, Scholastic Press, ages 4-7.
Max makes bedtime a show-stopping affair by trying every trick in the book from taming the savage beast (the family beagle), to the disappearing boy trick, to the floating pajamas trick. After his amazing teeth-brushing adventure and a multitude of bedtime stories, it’s finally lights out for Max and his show.
“Chengdu Could Not, Would Not Fall Asleep” by Barney Saltzberg, 2014, Hyperion Books, ages 3-6.
Chengdu the panda has insomnia, amidst the bamboo grove. Try as he might, sleep is illusive until he finds the perfect spot. Pencil illustrations draw attention to the black and white contrast of the panda and the green bamboo grove. Unique page sizes give a feeling of movement as Chengdu climbs through the grove in search of rest.
“Jammy Dance” by Rebecca Janni, Illustrated by Tracy Dockray, 2012, Macmillan, ages 3-7.
Bath time leads to rosy cheeks and shriveled fingers, then comes lotion, pajamas, then the Jammy Dance! Told in rhyme, this sweet story leads readers through bedtime routines. Beautiful watercolor and ink illustrations show the sea of emotions as two young children wind down from the day.
“Daddy’s Zigzagging Bedtime Story” by Alan Lawrence Sitomer, Illustrated by Abby Carter, 2014, Hyperion Books, ages 4-7.
It’s Dad’s turn to put the kids to bed, and he opts to tell a bedtime story of his own. To please both Jenny and Jake, Dad’s story includes a fairy princess who drives a monster truck and an enchanted unicorn who battles Zorgon the Fire-Burper. Dad’s imagination and his desire to appease both children leads to a creative tale that leaves his little “pickle quackers” wanting more, but also ready for their own sweet dreams. Bright watercolor illustrations depict this fun and funny storytelling bedtime scene.
“Tuck-In Time” by Carole Gerber, Illustrated by Tracey Campbell Pearson, 2014, Farrar Straus Giroux Books, ages 3-6.
A toddler’s bedtime routine includes his favorite stuffed rabbit and goodnight kisses from the family dog. Told as a rhyme, listeners can use hand gestures to participate in this young child’s bedtime game. The simple text and soft-colored illustrations will make this book a favorite tuck in reading activity.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Dobler