Winter brings long dark nights. It also brings bedtime in cold, windy and snowy conditions. Here are some new picture books that are sure to help settle down youngsters, ages three to seven, and have them begging to be read to again and again.
The Princess and the Giant, by Caryl Hart, and brightly illustrated with mixed media by Sarah Warburton, showcases the importance of reading. Princess Sophie and her town are all up in arms about how loud the giant is as he stomps around above them, high above the beanstalk. She gets an idea and climbs up to see if some nice hot porridge would soothe him into sleep. When that doesn’t stop his noisy clatter, she tries bringing him a cuddly bear and a soft mattress. But the surprise waiting at the end will put a smile on your face and emphasize the importance of books to your little one.
Finding Monkey Moon, by Elizabeth Pilford, and beautifully painted with acrylic by Kate Wilkinson, has a very distraught boy discovering that his precious stuffed monkey that he sleeps with has gone missing. He is about to go to bed when his Monkey Moon “couldn’t be found in any of his favorite places”. After looking everywhere inside, he and his dad look out in the dark park. The bond between father and son is to be cherished and the security of a child’s bedtime friend is emphasized.
The Full Moon at the Napping House, by Audrey and Don Wood, is an extension of the famous “Napping House” but seems better suited for bedtime. This cumulative tale has dog, cat, boy and granny wide-awake until a small cricket soothes them. Granny bends down and grabs a book under her bed which she reads to the boy settling him down for the night. The watercolor scenes completely cover the open page beautifully and seem to lilt the reader to sleep as well.
Mother Goose’s Pajama Party, by Danna Smith, and brightly illustrated by Virginia Allyn, follows the rhyming pattern of this traditional storytelling. Mother Goose invites her nursery rhyme friends to her house for storytelling time. After inviting friends like Little Bo-Peep and Wee Willie Winkie, they all settle down for her rhymes. This is an excellent book to teach these simple rhymes which will also help in memorizing and reading. The children and animals are all drawn with adorable cherub-like faces.
Goodnight, Good Dog, by Mary Lyn Ray, and painted with acrylic by Rebecca Malone, is a precious simple story with few words on each page making it perfect for toddlers and preschoolers tired and ready for sleep. The dog knows when the family and house is ready to sleep. But he isn’t. As he curls up in his “moon-round bed”, he soon dreams of the sun and his activities of the day and discovers that daytime is just around the corner.
Goodnight Already!, by Jory John, and delightfully illustrated with hues of blues, yellow and orange by Benji Davies, is a tongue-in-cheek tale that will provide chuckles from both young and old. Bear is tired and ready for sleep. Duck is awake and anticipating to do something. The irony, text and color is immediate which becomes hilarious. It may not close the eyelids, but it will bring up a smile!
Pete the Cat and the Bedtime Blues, by Kimberly and James Dean, is another in this series that continues the brilliant, joyful color that completely covers the double-page spread. As in the other “Pete the Cat” series, Pete and his friends are enjoying their friendship. But in this story, they are having a sleepover and each of the friends is keeping the others awake. But once again, Pete saves the day (or night) and reads them a bedtime story which puts them all to sleep.
Little Sleepyhead, by Elizabeth McPike, and illustrated with pencil sketches, mixed media and painted digitally by Patrice Barton, is an engaging celebration of youngsters as they settle in for the night. Each double-page spread showcases different children with their parents or grandparents as they cuddle them into sleep. These sleepyheads begin to tire all the way from their “Tired little toes” to their “Tired little eyes”.
B is for Bedtime, by Margaret Hamilton, and perfectly illustrated by Anna Pignataro, has thicker pages enabling tiny hands to help turn pages. But the true magic in the book is the placement of the adorable paintings against the white pages. This helps each letter of the bedtime alphabet jump out for youngsters to grasp. “Kk is a Kiss on the cheek from my mom. Ll is for Lullaby dom di-di dom.”