Saturday, February 5, 2011

Picture Books: Best Bedtime Stories of 2010

This list is composed of books specifically about bedtime.  After reading almost 40 books on this topic, these are my favorites.  Look for the best bedtime board books of 2010 later this week.

Race you to Bed by Bob Shea  
An energetic bunny proposes a challenge, “Let’s race to bed!  Ready? Set…go to bed!”   The bunny races up, down, and around.  There are lots of playful onomatopoeia, rhyme, and alliteration as he sails on a skateboard, flees angry bees, and flies over hungry crocodiles.   He even races passed cars and planes to get to his destination.  As he gets closer, he eats a quick snack, has a bath, brushes his teeth, and reads a book.  When he realizes his opponent (the reader) beat him to bed, he says, “Okay then, race you to sleep!”   Children will be delighted with the exuberant pictures and colorful language of Race you to Bed.   No doubt this book will become a bedtime classic! 

Goodnight, Little Monster by Helen Ketteman  
After he howls at the moon, Little Monster has to go inside for bedtime.  He follows the typical routine but in an imaginative manner.  His scales and plump, pointy tail are cleaned during bath time.  Afterwards, his mother picks the bugs out of his cute, furry ears.  Little Monster’s bedtime snack includes worm juice and baked beetle bread.  Of course, he has to brush his fangs and floss the beetles from in between.  After reading a bedtime story, Little Monster and his mother check under the bed for children.  With a night light on and his stuffed slug, he settles down to a peaceful night's rest.  I was immediately endeared to the character, illustrations, and creative language of Goodnight, Little Monster!   Parents and children will be soothed and entertained by Little Monster's imaginative bedtime routine. 

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein 
It is bedtime for little red chicken, so he asks his papa to read him a story.   His papa agrees but makes him promise not to interrupt.  The little bird cannot resist though!  As the classic fairy tales—such as Little Red Riding Hood, Chicken Little, and Hansel and Gretel—are being retold, the little chicken abruptly ends each story as the protagonist is about to make a mistake.  For instance, when the wolf attempts to talk to Little Red Riding Hood, little red chicken blurts out "Don't talk to strangers!"  Then, he ends the tale with Little Red walking away.  Finally, the father asks his son to tell him an original story which lulls one of them to sleep.  Interrupting Chicken is a unique and creative narrative.  There are likely lots of “little chickens” who will identify with the lively protagonist. 

No Ghost Under My Bed by Guido Van Genechten  
As Jake (a cute little penguin) settles down for the night, he begins to hear ominous-sounding noises.  He is certain they are from a ghost somewhere in his room—behind the curtains, under the bed, or in the toy chest.  Continuously, his father rushes into his room to check an alleged spooky location.  Each time, he assures his son that all is well.  Finally, Jake realizes there are no ghosts in his room; he believes his father heroically scared them all away.  No Ghost Under My Bed illustrates a common childhood anxiety, but the narrative demonstrates that children have nothing to fear.

Petra Puppy is adamant that there is a dog-eating monster sneaking around her home at night.   Her family all try to assure her with their own monster "charms"—a stuffed T-Rex, a magic wand, and a super strength cape, but not even surrounding herself with 16 of her favorite stuffed animals brings her comfort.  The puppies come up with an idea to make cookies for the supposed hungry monster.  At night, they leave them out with a note.  As they doze into dreamland, Petra alerts her siblings that the monster has arrived.  When they go looking for him, they find he is shy but amiable.  With the monster, the puppies have loads of fun.  All that the parents see when they wake up to the commotion is four mischievous puppies playing and eating cookies.  The imaginative Midnight Monster Party allows Petra to fall asleep with no worries.  The Patterson Puppies and the Midnight Monster Party is a creative bedtime tale to entertain and to comfort little ones.

Honorable Mentions:
·         Sweet Dreams Lullaby by Betsy Snyder
a wonderful poetic lullaby for bedtime

·         Pajama Pirates by Andrew Kramer
an enjoyable night time adventure

·         The Sleep Sheep by Anna McQuinn
an inventive take on counting sheep

·         Back to Bed, Ed! by Sabastien Braun
a child learns how to comfort himself and sleep in his own bed

·         Seven Little Bunnies by Julie Stiegemeyer
one by one the bunnies settle for the night in this poetic rhyming tale

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