Saturday, August 5, 2006

it's bedtime!

As many families do, we have a nightly tradition of reading together before bedtime. I will be perfectly honest with you and say that I wish I looked forward to it more than I do. The thing about bedtime reading is that my girls want to read through an entire bookshelf worth of books.

My two-year old carries in as many books as she can possibly manage and sometimes more. Think small child carrying the leaning tower of Pisa to her room and you get an accurate picture.
Love of books? Maybe. Sleep distractor and bed procrastination tactic? Definitely. The stealth and subterfuge required to not read all of these books is another post altogether.

Reading books to children has been a revelation to me of sorts. I've written a few children's book manuscripts for writing classes and stuff, and I bet that there is maybe one that I could stand to read to my kids on a regular basis. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of splendid books out there with some length and it's good and even fun to read them with your kids. Children need to develop attention spans that last longer than say, a flash of lightning. That said, if you are writing books for kids and you want to make a killing, make them smart, funny for both kids and their parents, easy to read aloud, and not too long.

Maybe it's just me. It's quite possible I am a whimp, but at bedtime I do much better with the short and/or snappy stuff (clever wording, good rhymes). Also books with a quiet bedtime theme are good. I read them at the end in a quiet voice to get everyone ready for the lights to turn off. So, I'm open to suggestions of good bedtime books for very small ones. Some of my favorites are The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear (that's just one title), anything by Sandra Boynton, Goodnight Moon, some Dr. Seuss stuff, Don't let the Pigeon drive the Bus!, and Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems are pretty funny too.


  1. Fabulous choices. The bedtime story thing is totally an issue for me too. I want them to be literate, attention spanful, all of that but I also want them to go the heck to sleep so they won't be crabby the whole next day. We're a big fan of Sandra Boynton over here.

  2. i love Kevin Henkes' stuff. We've been reading a lot of his books lately. His new one "Kitten's First Full Moon" is great. But I love all the mice ones (even though I am opposed to using mice as cute little characters in books because they just aren't cute!), like Chrysanthemum, Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, Owen, Wemberly Worried, etc.