Many, many, many children’s books end with bedtime. It’s almost like children’s book authors know how much the parents of young children crave sleep and welcome assistance in achieving their sleep-related goals from literature.
Sometimes, though, when you’ve had one of those verrrrrry long days, you may need something a little more explicit that the gentle suggestion at the end of a book. You need a whole volume that says “Hey kid? LIGHTS OUT!” So here’s a list of awesome books about bedtime, enjoyable by adult and child alike.
Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang is great for babies through toddlers and preschoolers too. It’s sweet without being cloying, a quiet love between dad and daughter. There’s also a slightly mischievous cat in the background. Even if you are not currently acquiring books for children (yours or someone else’s), if you have any interest in art and/or African-American literature, take a look at this one.
I discovered How to Make a Night by Linda Ashman, with art by Tricia Tusa, at our local used bookstore. I was so taken with the art. I couldn’t get Boy Detective to care. So I bought it later. Now he loves it. It’s a mix of drawing and collage, with a rhyme scheme that doesn’t get too sing-song. If you’ve ever had a bad day and you just need to get everything squared away and get some sleep, this is a book for you.
The Max and Ruby multimedia empire of author and illustrator Rosemary Wells is one of those cash machines that can’t be stopped. Some of the books are horrible. One parent told me that she wants to strangle the animated versions of Max and Ruby. I haven’t seen them so I don’t know. But within the big list of Max and Ruby books are a few that I really quite enjoy. Short, funny board books are like good all-ages jokes. Max’s Bedtime is one of those. Especially the results when Ruby throws the snake.
At Night, by Jonathan Bean. Her family is asleep, but she’s too restless. What’s a city girl to do? Go up to the roof, of course, with blanket and pillow. Soft, still, lovely, peaceful. We have checked this out from the library multiple times.
Charlotte Jane Battles Bedtime by Myra Wolfe, with art by Maria Monescillo. Charlotte Jane, like her parents, is a pirate through and through. And she’s not happy with this whole “bedtime” idea, so she decides she just won’t. After all, it keeps her from doing all the fun stuff! But will the fun stuff be as fun without any sleep? Monescillo’s art is so rich, I loved looking at it. One of our fave kids’ books about awesome girls too!
The Secret Plan, by Julia Sarcome-Roach. Okay okay, the inside of the cover is right. This is a “not-quite-ready-for-bedtime” book! Milo the elephant and his cat neighbors Henry, Hildy, and Harriet are great friends and have lots of fun together. The fly in the ointment? They always have to go to bed! So they devise a plan to stay up forever. In the end, they do go to bed, but the secret playtime they have first was so intriguing to my six year old that I felt compelled to ask him what he thought would happen if the friends stayed up every night that late. “They would be SO tired” was the response. Good boy!
Bedtime for Mommy by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, with art by LeUyen Pham. Grownup-kid role reversal books tend to be popular with kids, but this one was fun for me too because Pham’s drawings of the characters get their body language so wonderfully. The look on dad’s face at the end is priceless.
And that’s the list of our favorite children’s books about bedtime! If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments – and thanks for sharing on social media or with friends!