It’s time to get kids ready for bed. But getting them to settle down after a nice long summer can be difficult. Here are some new soothing stories to calm their minds and bodies for a good night’s sleep. “Lullaby”, in the middle of the review, is actually a CD. All of these are good for ages four through eight unless otherwise indicated.
The Raggedy Ann 100th Anniversary Treasury, adapted from stories by Johnny Gruelle, and beautifully illustrated by Jan Palmer, has five classic stories with brightly painted pictures on every page. These stories were originally written seventy-five years ago for Mr. Gruelle’s young daughter who dearly loved her Raggedy Ann doll. She later died of cancer. These stories have been updated a bit but still capture the many adventures with friends, animals, and her brother Andy, making them priceless bedtime stories.
Raggedy Ann Stories and Raggedy Andy Stories, by Johnny Gruelle, is an original compilation of these classic stories which were first published in 1918 and 1919, respectively. The pictures, which you find on almost every page, are Gruelle’s original paintings and they give a very old fashioned feel. The stories are filled with a variety of the dolls’ adventures including: “Raggedy Ann Learns a Lesson”‘, “Raggedy Ann and the Kite” and “How Raggedy Andy Came”.
Good Night, Baddies, by Deborah Underwood, and with gorgeous full-page paintings with watercolor and oil washes over the top by Juli Kangas, is how fairytale baddies become nice, warm cuddly “goodies” when they go to bed. Ever wonder what those bad trolls, witches and dragons do when they come home at night? “Wolves, today as not so good. / You, didn’t catch Red Riding Hood. / You, Huffed and Puffed without success. / But brush your fangs, please, nonetheless.” The rhyming is clever and fun to read out loud and the tie-in to fairytales help soften those “baddies” to nice sleepy good guys.
Lullaby (Classic Songs For Bedtime), assembled and produced by Scott Wiley, contains familiar songs but sung or performed by LDS artists. These songs are beautifully renditioned to create a soothing, relaxing environment. Some of the classic songs include: “Blackbird, All Through the Night and Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. In fact, they would be perfect to pipe throughout your home for all ages to enjoy as bedtime draws near. This was produced through Shadow Mountain.
A Recipe for Bedtime, by Peter Bently, and sweetly illustrated by Sarah Massini, has a simple recipe to relax and go to sleep with a lyrical tale. Youngster, and his three favorite stuffed animals – bear, elephant and sock monkey – prepare for bed with a goodnight snack. Then they help him bathe, dry off and put on his pajamas. “Put in warm place, cover tightly, / Add some kisses, Sprinkle lightly”. Here is a perfect bedtime recipe for ages two to four. Be sure to check out the clever end pages front and back.
The Wrong Side of the Bed, by Lisa M. Bakos, and brightly illustrated with sumi ink washes that were assembled and colored digitally, has poor Lucy getting up on the wrong side of the bed. It all began when she couldn’t find her missing bunny slipper. Then she discovers a porcupine in her bed, penguins blowing bubbles in the bath and a crocodile using her toothbrush. Each time she experiences mishaps, animals seems to appear. Children will likely relate to Lucy and her unfortunate morning.
The Moon’s Almost Here, by Patricia MacLachan, and painted with acrylic by Tomie dePaola, shows a red-headed boy and his mime dressed father preparing for bedtime. As the moon begins to rise, animals begin to settle into the night. “The Moon’s almost here. / Mare whinnies a song. / Cow moos to her calves / And they follow along.” The rhythmic pattern of each animal as they get ready for bed has a harmonious blend of pacifying coziness. The last few pages have the rising full round moon shining while father and son cuddle.
Maisy Goes to Bed, by Lucy Cousins, was originally published in 1990 and was one of the first “Maisy” books. This book continues in the tradition of the author with her vibrant, bold colors. It’s Maisy’s bedtime and as she goes through all of the normal bedtime preparations, the reader gets to experience these activities as well. Through pull-tabs and flaps that lift, children will thoroughly enjoy reading and preparing for bed as well. The first page has a pull-tab to change the daytime sun from a window to nighttime moon. She brushes her teeth, puts on her pajamas and climbs into bed to read. Every page has something to pull or lift. This would be a perfect emergent reader as well. This book is perfect for ages three to six.
Who Woke the Baby?, by Jane Clarke, and vibrantly painted in watercolor and ink by Charles Fuge, is a cumulative rhyming tale about a baby gorilla who is awakened too early which makes him fussy and unhappy. Who has awoken him? As you begin to add on African animals that are awakened by the previous animal, the mystery begins to unfold. This book begs to be read out loud and there are sure to be some giggles and smiles throughout.
The Paddington Treasury, by Michael Bond, and adorably illustrated of Paddington throughout by R. W. Alley, contains six of the most beloved stories about this extraordinary bear. Paddington was first written over fifty years ago. He has traveled with the Brown family from Peru and this is when the many adventures begin. This compilation of stories includes “Paddington at the Zoo”, “Paddington at the Palace” and “Paddington in the Garden”. The text is larger and doesn’t fill the pages making it easy to follow for new readers.
Box, by Min Flyte, and creatively and wonderfully illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw, celebrates imagination. Four youngsters each come upon a box. Each box is different in size but all are large. They discover that each box has toys inside which they immediately begin to play with. However, before long the children become bored with their toys and begin to explore the now empty boxes. The possibilities of what they come up with, and how inventive their play becomes, is endless. The last page shows their exhaustion from their day and the box becomes their bed. Every page has flaps and foldouts to help them explore.