So Sleepy Story written and illustrated by Uri Shulevitz -- This is one of my five-year-olds favorite books. You can see him holding it in the picture on my blog. The story starts off slowly with illustrations in dark blues and grays, everything sleepy, sleepy. In fact the word sleepy is used seventeen times in the first four pages! The house is sleeping, the chairs, the dishes, and the little boy. Soon music floats through the window and starts to awaken the sleeping house. The illustrations turn brighter with yellows and oranges as the dishes and chairs awaken and start to dance. Then just as quickly the music drifts away again and the whole house settles back into sleep. A wonderful visual feast with lyrical text accompaniment.
Quiet Night by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by John Manders -- A rollicking counting book that adds a new noisy animal as each page turns. What starts as a quiet night quickly changes as a frog bar-rums, owls whoo-hoo and fish whap-slap. The cartoonish illustrations present a humorous tone to the book. Look for an amusing final scene with a group of surprised campers. A fun counting book with a nighttime theme.
Owl Babies by Martin Waddell, and Illustrated by Patrick Benson -- This reassuring bedtime story tells the story of three small owls waking in the night to find their mother gone. The three owls stick together worrying and wondering what their Mother might be doing. Bill, the smallest owl, repeats "I want my Mommy," throughout the story. All ends well with the owl Mother returning and reassuring them that she will always come back for them. The perfect message that children can never hear enough.
Time for Bed by Mem Fox, Illustrated by Jane Dyer -- Beautiful muted watercolors accompany images of animal parents urging their offspring to go to sleep. Each page depicts a nighttime scene with a cute rhyme accompanying each image. One of my favorites, "It's time for bed, little calf, little calf, what happened today that made you laugh?" The final scene is of a mother tucking her child into bed. A sweet bedtime story.
A Child's Good Night Book by Margaret Wise Brown -- A lesser known book by Maragaret Wise Brown, of Goodnight Moon fame. Follows a similar theme of everything in the town going to sleep one by one. Animals put their babies to sleep, people put their houses to sleep. Finally a child is put to sleep. With soft muted illustrations, a beautiful lullaby of a story perfect for bedtime.