We must all turn our clocks back this weekend, making the daylight end even earlier and hopefully settling down youngsters for bedtime. Here is a list of some excellent books that should help in the process. All books are picture books and are perfect for ages four through eight unless otherwise indicated.
The Night Box, by Louise Greig, and beautifully painted by Ashling Lindsay, is a look into what happens when day begins to slip into nighttime. A young boy watches nighttime curl its shadows around his feet and linger amongst the tree trunks and wildlife as the sun sets. You notice that the boy, Max, is holding onto a key. As the day drifts into a shadowy mist, Max goes into his bedroom where he unlocks the “Night Box”. Out seeps a “whoosh” as Night slithers between, underneath and over objects that get in the way. Out it goes into the open air and “chases blue, white, pink and green away.” Sounds become more magnified in this dark depth of blues and blacks. But most reassuring that all is well throughout the night. Night chases away movement and calms, like a blanket, even the most apprehensive of animals. Both text and images become one and likens to an ode of night.
Everybody Goes Nighty-Night, by Sandra Magsamen, is a board book that will surely help lull your little one, ages three to five, asleep. The slight story will show your sleepyhead that it is time to go to bed. Everyone, including animals, are snuggling into their beds to sleep. Bunnies, cows and even the dog and cat are all readying themselves for sleep. There is a sturdy lift-the-flap on every page making this just what the young toddler needs at bedtime. As with Ms. Magsamen’s other board books, the color is vibrant and the story sweet and comforting.
Play, by Jez Alborough, brings out the common dilemma dealing with youngsters not wanting to go to bed. The problem is that they are having too much fun to stop. The author/illustrator solves this by showcasing the strong bond of love between mother and child. Bono is an adorable little chimp who wants to venture out beyond his home even though it’s time for bed. When he’s too far and it’s getting dark, a stout pelican saves the day. The illustrations, done in ink and pen, fill each page and the text is sparse but impactful.
Penguin & Tiny Shrimp: Don’t Do Bedtime!, by Cate Berry, and illustrated digitally by Charles Santoso, has a unique and interesting duo partnership. The illustrations of both penguin and his miniature friend, the shrimp, are hilarious and their experiences of what they do instead of bed will bring giggles while reading the book. These two buddies are adamant that they are not going to bed. In fact, they are belligerent against this nightly routine and freely speak out against it directly to the reader. Instead, they will not brush their teeth or even do bath time. Instead, they will travel, fly in hot air balloons and even sail through shark-infested waters. However, with their aversion to sleep, they may end up quite tired after all of these activities. This is a fun book and is perfect for bed.
Good Night, My Love, by Sandra Magsamen, is another sweet board book geared perfectly for your toddler. Every study page in this small-sized book features a lift-the-flap page to reveal what each will receive as reward for snuggling to sleep. The book rhymes throughout and features a puffy half-moon on the cover that extends out and is soft to the touch.
The Good Night Train Rolls On!, by June Sobel, and beautifully painted with acrylic with fabric and paper collage by Laura Huliska-Beith, is a delightful companion to the popular first book by the same author and illustrator: The Goodnight Train. The rhyming text, along with the dreamy palate of deep blues, purples and greens, make for a sleepy-time adventure as this train rambles along the tracks. Each train car has a sleeping child snuggled inside oblivious to the possible calamities surrounding them as the train rolls along. I’m betting this book will be desired again and again at bedtime.
Sleepy Time Olie, by William Joyce, is a delightful story for bedtime that will comfort and bring smiles throughout the rhyming story. When young Olie sees that Pappy is feeling down, old and out of sorts, he comes up with a brilliant contraption to lift Pappy’s spirits. Olie proceeds to build a ray devise that will emanate bubbles packed with joy. ”It tickled every Pappy part, it undid his sad old heart, Up and out young Pappy flew, feeling happy and brand-new.” After the family enjoys riding and swirling around with Pappy in bubbles made from Olie, they all settle down with happy bliss for bed. The colors of bright illustrations fill every page and were created digitally.
Sleepy, the Goodnight Buddy, by Drew Daywalt, and painted with vibrant watercolor and enhanced digitally by Scott Campbell, is very clever and very funny! Young Roderick hates going to bed. You will laugh out loud when you read all the excuses Roderick uses to try not going to bed. But when his parents give him a plush stuffed animal which they name Sleepy (to help new him go to sleep), this is when the real humor begins. I am betting you and your youngster will love and laugh while reading this over and over again!