23 October 2008

Books for going to sleep....

When my children decide that they are too old for picture books, I will miss reading the delightful genre of "going to sleep" books. I thought I would share with you our favourite sleepy books:

"Sleepy Bears" by Mem Fox is a beautiful book about a mother bear and her cubs snuggling into the soft feather bed for a nice long winter sleep. Mother Bear sends each little cub to sleep with a special rhyme and a dream. The illustrations by Kerry Argent are adorable, and I love this book to pieces! This is Turtle's favourite bedtime story still.... he just turned 8, but Ali Bear going to sleep "tummy all tight, dreaming of scrumptiousness all through the night" still brings a contented smile to his face. For a treat you too can hear it read out loud here by Mem Fox herself.

This treasure of a book by Andrew Daddo is relaxation technique for children in a picture book. The gorgeous little orangutan settles down for sleep by saying goodnight to each bodypart. The illustrations are exquisite, I love the expressions of the little one! We get a chuckle out of him saying goodnight to his bottom, telling it to relax, "but not too much". You can hear Andrew Daddo read it here while following along with the pages.

The fairies are a firm favourite with the little 6 yr old fairy fan..... This delightful story by Jane Simmons is all about Lucy and Jamie. Lucy is a big sister with a wonderful imagination and ability to tell stories. In this book she uses her skills to help her little brother Jamie whose fear of shadows is keeping him awake. Lucy takes him on an adventure to the magical land where the fairies live. I love the way the lines of text swirl across the pages, matching the story and the glittery, shimmering illustrations.

Here's another treasure, by Frances Watts. I am begrudgingly allowed to read it.... because it is a Daddy book and should be read by Daddy. In this book Baby Bear refuses to let Daddy give him a goodnight kiss, and their bedtime routine is transformed into a game where Daddy imagines all the different kisses that other animal babies give their daddies. As a perfect accompaniment to this storyline, David Legge has created some clever illustrations that have hidden images in them. This makes for a wonderful interaction as our little ones can do a bit of "I spy" on the pages as they listen to the story.

Everyone should have a brother like Willoughby in this beautiful book by Joyce Dunbar. Little bunny Willa is afraid to go to sleep and having bad dreams. Willoughby helps her relax and feel safe by telling her all the happy things she can think of. The illustrations in this book were done by one of my favourite children's book illustrators - Debi Gliori and I am sure that you will love the charming drawings with the most adorable,expressive bunnies.

I can't talk about going to sleep books without mentioning this one! If I didn't get a brother like Willoughby, I'd want one like Charlie. I think Lauren Child's style of writing and illustrating is irresistible. Little Lola reminds me of my own Little Possum, irrepressible, enthusiastic, imaginative! Charlie has the patience of a saint negotiating bedtime with Lola in this story. The illustrations are whimsical and have that scrapbook feel. This book leaves us going to sleep happy and cheerful.

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