Summer is the best time to be a kid: Days filled with outdoor fun, exciting new adventures, and freedom from regular school days.
Packed days of fluidity can keep little minds active well into the bedtime hours, so we’ve gathered a trio of books designed to nurture nighttime routines.
Illustrations by Pamela Dalton (Chronicle $17.99) Age Infant-7
Sometimes, songs and poems at bedtime can become some of our most vivid memories as adults. Whether you fancy unique lullabies or classic rhymes, we found a new collection that will help parents create their own lasting tradition while tucking-in their wee ones.
Published in July 2017, this collection of lullabies, night songs, and poems features Dalton’s exquisite cut-paper artistry, a technique with roots in 16th-century Europe. Enchanting scenes of nightshirt-clad children, angels, butterflies and flowers glow against a backdrop of darkness, setting the perfect mood for sleepy-time.
The text itself features a generous selection that ranges from familiar nursery rhymes like “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” to the hypnotic African-American lullaby “All the Pretty Little Ponies,” and includes such unusual fare as “Evening Prayer” from an 1893 German opera.
by Helga Bansch (Eerdmans $14) Age 2-6
Bansch is an Austrian children’s book author with a taste for whimsy, lending this picture book a slightly surreal and dreamlike flair.
Everything begins orderly enough, with different animals returning home for bedtime. Birds snuggle into their nest, rabbits doze on a bed of hay, and polar bears snore inside their ice caves. Delicate mixed-media illustrations have an abstract quality that encourages the reader’s imagination.
A dramatically illustrated lunar eclipse turns sleeping into dreaming, and literally turns the story—and the book—upside down, leaving readers in a mysterious world of the various animals’ nocturnal musings. This unusual book is pleasantly mysterious, and unlike any other on your child’s bookshelf.
by Hiroyuki Arai (Chronicle $14.99) Age 2-4
With basic but colorful acrylic/collage illustrations, this book’s interactive twist is suitable for even the youngest toddlers.
One by one, everyone from teddy bears and kitties, to piglets and children, must relinquish their toys at bedtime. After the split (“Dutch” door) page is turned, the reader sees everything property stowed in the toy box, and the critters have been tucked in under their blanket. One more half-page, and their eyes close in slumber. Goodnight!
This deceptively simple novelty book accomplishes three goals: Reinforcing the lesson to tidy up your toys, providing interaction so your child can “help” read, and encouraging sleep with the repetition of “goodnight” after every chapter.
Tip: At press time, we found this hardcover discounted to under $3 at the best-known online book seller.