Now that the nights are getting longer and Daylight Savings time is ending next month, it’s time to get in the routine of reading nightly to your kids. Here are some great read-aloud books to read when your children are getting ready to go to sleep. The first three books have several stories included and others are picture books about bedtime.
The Family Bedtime Treasury: Tales for Sleepy Times and Sweet Dreams, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, is a compilation of some of the best picture books to help soothe little ones into sleep. The book is over-sized, making the full-page pictures especially rich and include eight stories, such as: “The Napping House”, “Five Little Monkeys Reading in Bed” and “The Goodnight Train”. This book also has eight illustrated poems that include “Welcome to the Night” and the Curious George “My Curious Dreamer”. There’s also a CD with beautiful classical music to help pacify and enrich little ones.
Disney has two new books with several stories included. Bedtime Favorites has a compilation of 19 different stories based on famous Disney characters that children will recognize. Some of these include characters from “The Lion King”, “Monsters, Inc,” and “Winnie The Pooh”.
5-Minute Disney-Pixar Stories is the perfect storybook for those nights when there just isn’t enough time for a longer story to read-out-loud. This book includes twelve stories. The stories, in both books, are all very enjoyable and the illustrations are colorful and up to Disney’s high standards.
A Mary Blair Treasury of Golden Books, with a forward by John Canemaker, is a compilation of the works of this famous illustrator who passed away over 40 years ago. But her legacy lives on and some of the stories are her finest: “I Can Fly” and “The Up and Down Book”. Also included are pages from “The New Golden Song Book” and “Nursery Songs”.
Arthur’s Dream Boat, by Polly Dunbar, is a cleverly conceived story about young Arthur who dreams one night about a brightly painted boat. But when he attempts to tell his family about it, no one will listen. This same boat appears on his head and gradually grows until before Arthur knows it, he’s inside looking out at waves. Now will his family take notice? The wondrous illustrations are painted with mixed media.
Night Knight, by Owen Davey, is a richly colored book with hues of gold, brown and orange that tells a tale about a knight who experiences many adventures throughout the day, including riding through forests filled with trees, battling crocodiles and much more before finally falling into bed. The cover shows Davey in his head-armor, but the die-cut of his face shows (after opening the book) that he’s actually wearing on his head a pasta-sifter and his pajamas.
Lovabye Dragon, by Barbara Joosse, and illustrated with hues of muted blue paintings by Randy Cecil, is a sweet tale told in a rhythmic pattern that creates a sing-song story that begs to be read-out-loud. A princess dreams of having a dragon and the dragon longs for a girl and when at last they meet, how sweet!
What Time Is It? It’s Duffy Time!, by Audrey & Don Wood, celebrates the events in a day with an adorable pug as he goes from his morning, into the afternoon and finally ending his day by being read to. There’s a subtle clock with the onset of a new event throughout the day helping youngsters understand the passing of time in relationship to a clock.
Nighttime Ninja, by Barbara DaCosta, and illustrated with a unique combination of cut paper, string and colored pencils by Ed Young, begins with a mystery. Few words are used throughout as you follow this Ninja as he goes about his mission. And what is this mission? This book has a delightful ending to a mysterious story with marvelous illustrations that add to this midnight story. The creative cover, showing the eyes and head-covering of the ninja, sets the stage for the up-coming adventure.
Can I Just Take a Nap?, by Ron Rauss, and painted with pen, ink and watercolor by Rob Shepperson, is the winner of the Cheerios New Author Contest. Poor Aiuden is attempting to find a nice quiet location to take a nap. But every place he finds becomes a loud explosion of noise. When he finally finds a place to sleep, I’m not sure your little ones will be sleepy because the story and pictures are hilarious.
Goodnight, Dragons, by Judith L. Roth, and illustrated with pencil and digital color by Pascal Lemaitre, is a delightful story full of imagination as a young boy explores a forest in search of dragons. And when they do finally appear, he is ready to capture and tame them.
Tell Me About Your Day Today, by Mem Fox, and painted with full vibrant acrylic on watercolor paper by Lauren Stringer, is told through a series of events as a child asks each of his stuffed animals about their day. Each animal, in turn, answers in a simple explanation with pictures telling their day. Then, the child reflects on his day in the same way. This book is a delight!
Bears in Beds, by Shirley Parenteau, and painted in soft acrylic pastels by David Walker, has five little bears one by one climbing into their beds beginning with Big Brown Bear. But after Big Brown Bear tucks the little ones into bed, they become scared of the wind. How Big Brown Bear settles them down will ring true with the onset of this review.