Books for Bedtime
A potty break, a glass of water, the blankie tucked just so, and the most important element of the bedtime ritual - a bedtime story (or two or three). When it's time to select the perfect book(s), try these kid-approved choices to lull, cajole, and persuade your child to finally let you sleep after you've read "just one more book!"
Hush: A Thai Lullaby by Minfong Ho
A mother on a mission to make sure it's quiet enough for her child to fall asleep goes around hushing all the very active and loud animals around her house. Pretty and funny illustrations, interesting animals, and excellent, varied vocabulary will keep the attention of your little ones and build their pre-reading skills effortlessly. I like to sing the animal verses to the tune of "Hush, Little Baby" for an extra soothing effect, especially when sharing the book with babies.
Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! by Mo Willems
Perennial children's favorite and bird about town, the Pigeon, is up to some shenanigans again, and the bus driver needs your help! Your mission? Don't let the Pigeon stay up late, of course! He might wheedle; he might whine. He'll protest way too much, but stay strong! Once you complete your mission of getting the Pigeon to go to sleep, you can put yourself to bed, too, knowing you've put in a good night's work. This one's best for kids ages 4-7.
Nighty Night, Little Green Monster by Ed Emberley
Toddlers and preschoolers will love looking at the colorful little monster's facial features and bidding each part "nighty night!" Kids can point out their own "little yellow eyes" or "little bluish-greenish nose" and compare them with the monster's for even more interactive fun.
Beep! Beep! Go to Sleep! by Todd Tarpley
A boy puts his three little robots to sleep and prepares to get some rest himself. Too bad they don't want to stay in bed! The struggle is real as his sleep is continually interrupted by the rambunctious robots who he tries to shepherd back to bed. After many frustrating attempts complete with hilarious robot sound effects, the boy finally manages to get the robots to quiet down so he can get some much deserved sleep.
Toot Toot Beep Beep by Emma Garcia
Babies and toddlers will find all the busy car sounds irresistible and oh so fun to imitate. The colorful pictures, unusual words, and peaceful final night time scenes will make this a favorite with you and your child at bedtime and beyond.
Dinosaur vs. Bedtime by Bob Shea
In a battle between little dinosaur and the bedtime routine, who will reign supreme? Roar along, take your bath, and brush your teeth as you follow this epic battle. Hopefully, the dinosaur and your child both succumb to the lure of sweet, sweet sleep.
Everybody Sleeps (But Not Fred) by Josh Schneider
Fred's got an agenda for the night, and it's definitely not letting the animals get some much needed rest. Preschoolers and older kids will be eagerly turning the pages to see what zany challenge Fred's come up for himself next. But, with any luck, by the end of the story, they'll end up just like Fred: sound asleep.
Go to Sleep, Gecko! by Margaret Read MacDonald
Vibrant, colorful illustrations bring to life this funny animal drama that will appeal to kids four and older. What kid could resist a story that involves buffalo poop? Adults will appreciate the Balinese folktale's emphasis on the interconnectedness of communities and the lesson that sometimes you have to put up with the small annoyances in life because that's what keeps nature and communities chugging along. Now, stop complaining that you can hear cars driving outside and go to sleep!
How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen
Outrageous illustrations of dinosaurs misbehaving serve as good examples of what not to do at bedtime. Don't despair though - the dinosaurs turn it around in the end and exhibit some picture-perfect behavior that your child will want to emulate.
Nighty-night, Cooper by Laura Joffe Numeroff
One of my favorites to share with kids of all ages. Numeroff, of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie fame, has crafted a sweet and engaging singable bedtime book. Cooper, a kangaroo joey, keeps asking for more songs from Mama, and she obliges by singing bedtime themed songs to the tune of well-known songs like "Twinkle Twinkle." The familiar tunes make it easy for you to sing at home with your kids, and don't be surprised if they start singing and tapping along.
Happy reading and happy sleeping!