Posts Tagged bedtime

Time for Bed by Mem Fox

Board books are generally pretty boring. Every so often you get a really funny one but for the most part, you have to read them so many times that even the best start to feel tiresome.

And then there are the bedtime books. My 3 year old still insists on hearing Goodnight Moon every night — so we don’t even read it anymore, it’s one of the “stories” he gets to hear when he’s in his crib (yes, he still sleeps in his crib — truthfully, I’d keep him in there until he’s 10 if it will keep him from getting out of bed!). So it’s high praise when I call a board book one of my favorite bedtime stories.

It's Time For Bed
Time For Bed

Time For Bed by Mem Fox is a perfect bedtime story. The words are lilting, there isn’t too much text and it’s sweet without being too sappy. It has this soothing rhythm that could honestly put my to sleep if I let it and Jane Dyer’s soft illustrations are a perfect complement. If you are dealing with a child who is too awake, there’s also a lot to look at in the book — you can point out all the animals and their animal parents, etc. And it’s the perfect message for the end of the day:

It’s time for bed little mouse, little mouse,
Darkness is falling all over the house.

It’s time for bed little calf, little calf,
What happened today to make you laugh?

Unfortunately, at the end of the day (for that’s what it is when you read this book), even a great bedtime book can’t ensure a great bedtime. Sad, isn’t it?

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Half a World Away by Libby Gleeson

Having moved a number of times in my life, I have often felt very far away from my very best friends. However, the worst was when my childhood best friend Rachel moved across the ocean to England when I was 13.

I think about that a lot these days now that Rachel and I are back in touch, more than 20 years later, and talked on the phone, still across the ocean from one another. It’s in that spirit that I want to recommend another delightful gentle book, Half a World Away by Libby Gleeson.

Half a World Away

Half a World Away

It’s a quiet book, beautifully illustrated in soft but vivid colors by Freya Blackwood. It’s the type of book that makes you sigh when you are done, that makes you feel peaceful — perfect for that last book before bed. In it, Amy and Louie are best friends — children who do everything together, who climb through the fence between their backyards every day, who call each other to play by calling: “Coo-ee Am-ee” or “Coo-ee Lou-ee.” But then Amy, like Rachel many years ago, moves with her family to the other side of the world (presumably from the illustrations, New York) and they are separated.

Louie is despondant and wants to call out “Coo-ee Amy” but everyone tells him that she won’t hear it, that when it’s day for him, it’s night for her. Finally, his grandmother says that maybe Amy would hear it and Louie takes the chance. And that night, in a dream, Amy can hear Louie calling across the ocean: “Coo-ee Am-ee.” Soft and delightful and hopeful — a wonderful bedtime read.

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The Baby Goes Beep

Choosing a first book to recommend is at once overwhelmingly hard, and also a no brainer.
The Baby Goes Beep

The Baby Goes Beep

Every night, before my 3-year old goes to sleep (and every nap before he goes to sleep but I’m rarely there for that), I recite The Baby Goes Beep by Rebecca O’Connell and then Goodnight Moon. Goodnight Moon you’ve all probably heard of but The Baby Goes Beep is an unknown gem. 

The book is simple in content, and has a lyrical sing-songy quality to the text: 
The baby goes Beep. The baby goes Beep Beep. The baby goes Beep Beep Beep Beep.
The baby goes Boom. The baby goes Boom Boom. The baby goes Boom Boom Boom Boom.
The pictures are big and vivid and the story just meanders as the baby gets home, plays for a bit, eats dinner, takes a bath, gives good-night kisses and goes to sleep (actually, my kids like to point out that the mom and dad go to sleep but on the end page, the baby is standing up in the crib!).

Simply put, it’s a perfect bedtime book. Everyone in my family knows it by heart by now, even our occasional babysitters do. Sadly, it’s out of print, so snap up any copies you find!

 You can find it at Amazon.

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