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Recommended Preschool Books: Bedtime

bedtime_choldlenko_putting-the-monkeys-to-bed_170x235Choldenko, Gennifer Putting the Monkeys to Bed
32 pp. Putnam 2015. ISBN 978-0-399-24623-4

Illustrated by Jack E. Davis. At bedtime, Sam and his toy monkeys are wide awake. Busy cartoon art full of overstimulating detail vibrates with energy, capturing what it might feel like to be Sam, whose “brain is buzzing.” Eventually, Sam handles the situation himself, leading the rowdy monkeys in deep-breathing exercises, a story, counting, and cuddling. A comical yet realistic look at bedtime for those who struggle with it.
Subjects: Preschool; Bedtime; Sleep; Animals—Monkeys

bedtime_ebbeler_clickEbbeler, Jeffrey Click!
32 pp. Holiday 2015. ISBN 978-0-8234-3295-0

With only night noises and a few verbs (“Toss, turn”) as text, this humorously surreal story plays out mostly through dynamic acrylic illustrations. A boy turns off his bird-shaped lamp at bedtime: “Click.” The lamp, on spindly bird-legs, walks to the bathroom to fix a drippy faucet, then goes on throughout the house, returning in time for morning and the sounds of the day.
Subjects: Preschool; Bedtime; Noise

farrell_thank you octopusFarrell, Darren Thank You, Octopus
40 pp. Dial 2014. ISBN 978-0-8037-3438-8

Octopus knows that a warm bath, cozy jammies, and a story can make the end-of-the-day transition easier, and he’s all prepared — in theory. That’s the gist of this book’s silly premise: Octopus talks the bedtime talk, but his best intentions wildly miss their mark every time. No words are wasted in the spare speech-bubble text; Farrell’s detailed cartoon illustrations cleverly foreshadow the antics.
Subjects: Preschool; Bedtime; Animals—Octopuses; Vehicles—Boats and boating; Humorous stories

bedtime_fox_baby-bedtimeFox, Mem Baby Bedtime
32 pp. Simon/Beach Lane 2014. ISBN 978-1-4814-2097-6
Ebook ISBN 978-1-4814-2098-3

Illustrated by Emma Quay. “I could eat your little ears. / I could nibble on your nose. / I could munch your tiny fingers. / I could gobble up your toes.” The easy rhythm of Fox’s effortless-seeming opening lines leads up to a final kiss good-night. Quay’s soft mixed-media art in pastel hues depicts the gentle, rounded forms of anthropomorphic parent-and-child elephants and exudes calming comfort.
Subjects: Preschool; Stories in rhyme; Bedtime; Songs—Lullabies; Babies; Animals—Elephants

ray_go to sleep little farmRay, Mary Lyn Go to Sleep, Little Farm
40 pp. Houghton 2014. ISBN 978-0-544-15014-0

Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal. This lyrical bedtime book follows various animals’ evening activities; inside a house a young girl mimics their actions (e.g., hiding under her blankets like a bear in a log) before falling asleep. The book begins at dusk, the sky going from pink to blue to black and starry, the shadowy gray tones of the retro-looking illustrations a consummate match for the restful, rhyming text.
Subjects: Preschool; Animals—Domestic animals; Farms and farm life; Animals—Forest animals; Sleep; Stories in rhyme; Bedtime

sakai_hannah's nightSakai, Komako Hannah’s Night
32 pp. Gecko 2014. ISBN 978-1-877579-54-7

Translated by Cathy Hirano. Toddler Hannah wakes up in the middle of the night to a “day” full of surprises: with the rest of her family asleep, she is free to raid the fridge and borrow her sister’s best stuff. The brief text telegraphs Hannah’s exhilaration; the illustrations, in dark blues, purples, and pinks, are contained inside softly rounded borders, giving readers a sense of safety and security.
Subjects: Preschool; Night; Family—Siblings; Bedtime; Books in translation

saltzberg_chengduSaltzberg, Barney Chengdu Could Not, Would Not Fall Asleep
48 pp. Disney/Hyperion 2014. ISBN 978-1-4231-6721-1

All the pandas are sleeping peacefully except for little Chengdu. Saltzberg gives the book an old-fashioned look by limiting the colors to black, white, gray, and the green of the bamboo trees, catching the soft textures of a dark forest at night. Gentle sight gags add humor without breaking the calming mood, making this an ideal nighttime book for the very young.
Subjects: Preschool; Sleep; Bedtime; Animals—Pandas

bedtime_shaw_sheep-go-to-sleepShaw, Nancy Sheep Go to Sleep
32 pp. Houghton 2015. ISBN 978-0-544-30989-0

Illustrated by Margot Apple. After frolicking through seven books (Sheep in a Jeep, etc.), these five sheep are tuckered out. It’s time for bed, but “nighttime noises scare the sheep. / Really, who could go to sleep?” Enter a border collie who settles the sheep down, integrating core concepts such as counting, addition, and subtraction. Soft colored-pencil illustrations set a peaceful pastoral scene; the text’s assonant sounds are soothing.
Subjects: Preschool; Bedtime; Sleep; Animals—Sheep; Stories in rhyme; Animals—Dogs

zoboli_big book of slumber_170x233Zoboli, Giovanna The Big Book of Slumber
32 pp. Eerdmans 2014. ISBN 978-0-8028-5439-1

Illustrated by Simona Mulazzani. Lush art in cozy nighttime colors lends a magical, drowsy atmosphere to this lyrical look at creatures’ bedtimes. Rhyming couplets are full of rhythm and repetition to soothe the youngest ears: “Mouse ate her apple and read her nice book. / Who else is sleeping? Just take a good look.” This large-format ode to the joys of dreamland sets the right nighttime tone.
Subjects: Preschool; Books in translation; Animals; Stories in rhyme; Bedtime; Songs—Lullabies; Sleep

From the December 2015 issue of What Makes a Good…?: “What Makes a Good Preschool Book?”

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