Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bed Time Goes Better with Books

Most kids go through a stage when they don't want to go to bed. Why? Maybe it's that monster casting shadows on their wall; maybe it's separation anxiety; maybe it's just that they really, really need sixty glasses of water before sleep. Whatever the reason, books can help kids settle into a bed time routine.

Some picture books are just made for sleepy time:

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury is one of my
Top Ten Picture Books. The rhyme, rhythm and repetition make it excellent for a bedtime read-aloud. Listen to Mem herself read it at her own website. Want an absolute treat? Watch Mem singing it as a lullaby, below. I hope you love it as much as I do!

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd is perfect to read aloud before sleep. If you don't have it to hand, try before you buy
with this video. Goodnight Moon is a wonderful classic.

Are You My Mother by P.D. Eastman works as a bedtime-story, wake-up story or any time of day. Again, you can listen to the story
in this video if you don't have the book yet.

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson is a lovely reassuring kind of story about little owls who cope without Mum even though they are scared. I reviewed it
at this post.

Sleepy Bears by Mem Fox is lovely repetitive text, with lots of yawns and rhymes. It's wonderfully
read aloud by the Divine Ms Mem herself on her own website. Mem reads aloud so superbly, this is another treat for parent AND child.

Where does Thursday go? by Janeen Brian and Stephen Michael King is a delightful, gentle tale about Splodge and Humbug, and their quest to find Thursday. Here is the
Book Chook review.

Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann. Here's
a lovely video, true to the book, to give you an idea before you seek it out. Or use its background music of Brahms Lullaby to put your youngster in the sleepy-time frame of mind.

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney is a beautiful book, where Little Nutbrown Hare gradually falls alseep. If you don't know it, listen to it read aloud at Toronto Public Library.

Time for Bed, by Mem Fox and Jane Dyer, is another treasure from the Divine Ms Mem. Read lovely rhyming couplets about animal babies settling down for the night.

Hello Baby by Mem Fox and Steve Jenkins. Are you getting the impression you can't go wrong with Mem? Right!
Hear or watch her read it aloud. Then buy it to add to your collection!

Books can teach us so much, even children's picture books. If your little one is troubled by bad dreams, why not follow Mother Bear's practice in Sleepy Bears? Choose a dream for your youngster by starting them off with a little description of themselves in a narrative. You don't need to rhyme, and if you're at a loss for an idea, try putting your child into an oft-read tale. Then let them close their eyes and imagine the story as they slowly drift off. You're not only training them to sleep, but also helping them develop a rich imagination, and a love for story.

Mmm, imagination, story and sleep - three of my very favourite things!


  1. Great list! And the Mem Fox video is wonderful. In her book, Reading Magic- when she describes how to read aloud- she talks about drawing out that last word of the story. I loved to see that she did that!! It's something that I've picked up with my boys :)

  2. @Jackie H.I know exactly what you mean. I love "fall in love with the pause" too. It gives kids time to reflect, and I believe that's vital.


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