Here’s the latest update on the bookshelf situation at my house. This post is devoted entirely to the well stocked, but slightly disheveled bookshelf of my son. As all “seasoned” parents know, routine is the bedrock of bedtime sanity for both the littles and the bigs. At our house, the bedtime ritual goes something like: dinner, bath for little dude, unintentional bath for mommy, nakey baby marathon, diaper baby marathon, pajama baby marathon, Bible reading with mom and dad, books in bed, and lights out.
So, in the theme of full disclosure, I thought I’d share our five favorite bedtime books for toddlers that help Little J settle down for the night. Hint: You can’t read just one. That would just be absurd.
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This is a sweet, vibrantly colored picture book featuring various baby animals and their parents going through the pre-bedtime rituals. The illustrations are stunning and have a certain warm and fuzzy feel to them. Little J loves to make the animal sounds as he turns the pages (what sound does a hedgehog make? anyone?) and the text lends itself well to the mimic stage we’re in at the moment.
This one’s a classic of course, but on our bookshelf we have a board book version. Little Nutbrown Hare (doesn’t that name just roll off your tongue beautifully?) tries to show how much he loves Big Nutbrown Hare. This is where the classic line “I love you to the moon and back” was born. Guess How Much I Love You is just one of those books that gets better with time. Little J loved this book when he was a baby, and now that he is starting to talk he enjoys reading along with me, stretching his arms out with Little Nutbrown Hare, and making the book “hop” along with the illustrations. Bonus: Does it count as a workout if you stretch your arms out along with Big Nutbrown Hare? Asking for a friend.
I searched for a while looking for a good children’s Bible. It’s hard to find a balance between Biblical accuracy and age-appropriateness. Whereas some versions only skim over certain more famous narratives, what I love about this version is that it includes pretty much every major story. Oddly enough, Little J’s favorite part of this book is the small illustration of a donkey on the back cover.
Oh I adore this little book! We received this one as a gift from Grandma, and it’s been a favorite for months and months. A little toy engineer takes his train on an adventure through the bedroom. It’s got one of the best opening lines I’ve ever read: “Sun’s up, morning’s here! Up and at ’em engineer!” The illustrations are rich and complex with lots of hidden treasures. Little J loves searching for the tiny mouse in the city. The rhymes are rhythmic and just beg to be read aloud. This one’s a winner for sure.
You just can’t go wrong with Sandra Boynton. This book features whimsical illustrations and lyrical yet silly rhymes any toddler will love. A mashup of eclectic animals brush their teeth, put their pajamas on, and engage in other nightly chores before rocking to sleep in a delightfully tiny boat. My only hang up with this book is why on earth would these silly animals exercise after taking their baths? What mother in her right mind would permit such foolishness? (See nakey baby marathon note above.) In any case, Little J loves reading this book and acting out the various bedtime steps as they arise.
We are suckers for a good bedtime book around here. There is something extra snuggly about the little ones when it’s bedtime. Either way, I’m always looking for a new favorite for our bookshelves. Tell me, what bedtime books for toddlers are on your bookshelf? I’d love to know your favorites!