Bedtime story time is always a great way to bring a day to a close. It’s cuddle time, you’re winding things down, and sometimes, you can lull yourself to sleep with a good, calming story. They can be funny, they can be silly, they can be sweet; most of all they allow you to share some much needed downtime with your kiddos. Here are two recent ones I’ve been enjoying with my kiddo.
Animals sleep, just like we do, but some animals sleep very differently. Dogs and cats sleep curled up… when they aren’t playing; giraffes sleep standing up; meerkats sleep in a heap, and fish swim while they sleep and don’t close their eyes! Sleep: How Nature Gets its Rest is a quiet book on how different animals sleep, beautifully illustrated with muted mixed media. The brief text makes for calm, soothing bedtime reading, and the one-two sentences per page makes this a good choice for emerging readers with an interest in animals during waking hours, too. A concluding note asks readers if they think animals dream, giving them something to ponder as they fall asleep. Back matter offers more information on each of the animals who appear in the book, and websites for more reading about animal habits.
What a sweet way to fall asleep.
Parents will appreciate this book just as much as the kids do. It’s bedtime, but a little girl is not ready for bed yet: there are too many questions to be answered! “Why is the ocean blue? What is the rain? Why do the leaves change color?” One question leads to another in this story that many, many parents and caregivers will recognize. The responses will make you laugh even harder, because this caregiver has a sense of creative humor with his answers. Just Because is an invitation to the imagination for parents and kids alike, and is an instantly recognizable, tongue-in-cheek recreation of bedtime and its many delays. Isabelle Arsenault’s gouache, pencil, and watercolor artwork is minimal in color, with pale color to pages for emphasis, and wonderfully brings each answer to life: we have dinosaurs strapped to giant balloons and birds, warming themselves by a matchstick that blooms into an autumn leaf. Let this book guide you the next time you’re tempted to respond, “Just because” to a child’s question. Don’t miss this one.
Mac Barnett is a Caldecottt Honor-winning, award-winning, children’s book author who (along with being one of my favorites) creates hilarious, thoughtful, and often whimsical stories for kids.
Just Because has starred reviews from School Library Journal and Kirkus.