Silver Spring, Md, June 28, 2012 – The tradition of reading a bedtime story has been around for generations. Sitting on the bed with a parent reading a brightly colored picture book before being tucked into bed is a memory that many adults carry with them. Reading to your child is critically important for language development and is also a great bonding experience for parent and child. Choosing a to read as part of your child’s bedtime routine also helps set a pattern and makes bedtime a more enjoyable prospect to your little one.
Here are 10 of the best bedtime stories: those that focus on sleep or what happens at night. Some are classics, some are newer titles; some are for babies, some are for preschoolers, but you’re sure to find 1 or 2 to fit the bill.
Pajama Time! by Sandra Boyton
(ISBN 9780761119753, Workman Publishing Company, Inc.) “It’s Pajama Time! Jamma, Jamma, Jamma Jamma, PJ!” Sandra Boyton’s books are favorites of many children. This is a fun board book for little kids. It makes putting on pajamas a game or a party. With it’s fun mantra, “It’s pajama time,” and the little pajama dance called the “pajammy,” kids have fun with this book.
Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasan
(9780670012954 Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated) Little Owl spends the night visiting his nighttime animal friends throughout the forest. The artwork is fantastic, and this is a good choice to introduce new animals to your child, like the possum, the raccoon, moths, and crickets. Little owls asks his mother how the night ends, but as she tells him, day breaks and he has fallen asleep.
The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson & Beth Krommes
(9780547577692 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) This is the 2009 Caldecott Winner. It takes you through the house and the things found within a house, to a little sleeping boy who flys out into the nighttime on the back of an owl. After seeing what happens at night, he is returned to the house. The short sentences are good for younger children with shorter attention spans, and the detail in the pictures give children plenty to explore.
I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll & Howard McWilliam
(9780979974625 Flashlight Press) This is a great book for older children, especially those that might be struggling with fear of the dark. In this story, a little boy gets a note from the monster under his bed saying that the monster is going on vacation. The little boy realizes he can’t sleep without his monster. So, he interviews other monsters for the position, but there is a problem with each one that makes them funny rather than scary. In the end, his monster returns and he can fall asleep.
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
(9780694003617 HarperCollins Children’s Books) This classic children’s book is a bedside staple in many homes. In this simple story, a little bunny says goodnight to all the things he sees on his way to bed. Don’t be surprised if your child starts saying goodnight to the objects in your house on his way to bed after reading this book for several nights. The book is so loved by children, that there is even a plush bunny in striped pajamas that you can buy for your child.
Time for Bed by Mem Fox & Jane Dyer
(9780152881832 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) This is a classic bedtime story and is a favorite of many children. It is bedtime, and the animals are putting their babies to sleep. Each set of pages features a different parent and baby animal in their respective environments. The soft watercolor pictures appeal to young children. It’s written in lulling rhythmic manner that is soothing, which is perfect for calming little ones before bed.
Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
(9780698116498 Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated) This a traditional picture book where the story is told more through the pictures than through the words on the page. The story itself is about a zookeeper that says goodnight to the animal. The gorilla has stolen his keys, and as they make through the zoo, the gorilla lets all the animals out of their cages and they follow the zoo keeper back to his house. This is a good book for young children, as parents can describe what’s going on in the pictures, or you can ask your child what they think is happening.
How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague
(9780590316811 Scholastic, Inc.) Part of the popular “How Do Dinosaurs…” series, Yolen and Teague have created a fun book to address temper tantrums before bed. Each page asks if a dinosaur misbehaves in different ways while saying goodnight. The answer to the question is, no, dinosaurs go to bed just like every parent dreams their child will, peacefully with a big kiss as they turn out the light. Children can relate to the behaviors of the dinosaurs and get the message that bedtime is for quiet. This book is also great for any child who is going through a dinosaur phase, as the name of each dinosaur is labeled somewhere in the picture, so parents aren’t at a loss when a curious child asks what type of dinosaurs is jumping on the bed.
Just Go to Bed by Mercer Meyer
(9780307119407 Random House Children’s Books) This is a book in Mercer Meyer’s popular “Little Critter” series. It’s time for bed, by the little critter wants to play, so every step of the way he uses his imagination to turn the different steps of getting ready for bed, until he pretends himself into bed. This is great for active kids who want to play all night long, showing them that it’s alright to get into bed and go to sleep. It might also give parents a few ideas of how to steer your child’s play towards bed.
The Sleep Book by Dr. Seuss
(9780394800912 Random House Children’s Books) It seems that there is a Dr. Seuss book for every occasion, and bedtime is no exception. In his classic, The Sleep Book, Seuss talks about contagious yawns, snoring, dreaming, sleep talking and sleep walking using his famous rhyme and meter and tongue twisting alliteration. Seuss’s imagination has dominated the children’s picture book market for decades, and this book is no different with it’s fantastic and funny imaginary creatures like the Collapable Fink, the Ofts from the District of Doft, and the Foona-Lagoona Baboona which are all going to sleep in their own weird wacky way. The Sleep Book is quite long, so it is best saved for an older child with a longer attention span.
Follow Brighid on Twitter at @BrighidMoret and receive updates when new columns post on Facebook. Read more about first time parenting issues in Parenting the First Time Through at The Communities at The Washington Times. Check out Brighid’s children’s book reviews at Big Reads For Little Hands.