Children’s Library: Bedtime

Children’s Library: Bedtime

March 23, 2011, Epoch Times

Soft, soothing tales that set the mood for slumber


Bedtime is prime-time in the world of storybooks. While any beloved story can be shared at bedtime to lull young ones to sleep, there are some that truly capture the essence of the nightly ritual of winding down to rest.

A warning to readers: these books do not discriminate in the sleepiness they impose on both their intended audience and anyone within earshot. Bring your pillow.

“Tell Me the Day Backwards” by Albert Lamb, illustrated by David McPhail (Candlewick Press)
As Mama Bear settles her young cub into bed, they reflect on the events of the day beginning with the most recent. “Tonight, before I got into bed, I brushed my teeth in the stream,’ begins Timmy Bear. The bear family, it is revealed, had quite an eventful day, to the delight of the reader, that begins and ends in the comfort of bed. Sweet illustrations and a darling premise offer an enjoyable read and inspiration to review one’s own day … backwards.
(Just released March 22, 2011)

“Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book” by Dr. Seuss (Random House)
Just try to read this book without yawning. In classic Seuss form, the “Sleep Book” keeps a running tally and detailed updates of a bevy of Seussical characters practicing their nighttime routines and falling asleep. It all starts with a yawn that, of course, triggers more yawns. It rightly begins with the note, “This book is to be read in bed.” (Published August 1962)

“Time For Bed” by Mem Fox, illustrated by Jane Dyer (Harcourt)
Soothing, repetitive, and simple, this board book features parent and baby animal pairings at bedtime. Lovely nighttime images beckon the reader to whisper through the soft words as each little creature is put to bed. The book finishes with a mother and child and reads, “The stars on high are shining bright—Sweet dreams, my darling, sleep well … good night!” (Published September 1997)

“A Bedtime for Bear” by Bonny Becker, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton (Candlewick Press)

This is the third of Becker’s tales featuring the lovable characters of Bear and Mouse in which Mouse spends the night at Bear’s house. “Bear had never had an overnight guest before,” and Bear needs everything “to be just so:” his glass of water, fluffed pillow, snug nightcap, and “absolute quiet.” Mouse makes quite a racket in setting about his nighttime routine that Bear barely manages to tolerate. When Mouse finally falls asleep, the quiet seems a bit scary to Bear. Luckily, his good friend Mouse is there to comfort them both back to sleep. Like the series’ two predecessors, “A Bedtime for Bear” is charming and delightfully well-told. (Published September, 2010)

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