School time means earlier bedtime for youngsters. What better way to get them to settle down and go to sleep than a great read-out-loud picture book about this subject? These books are all good for ages three to seven.

N MoondayMoonday, by Adam Rex, is a clever and creative story about how the moon ended up in a backyard. When a young girl looks out her car window, the moon seems to be following her. The following morning she’s surprised to see the moon in her yard. The resulting consequences are shown on the next several pages. People sleep and yawn at stoplights and walk around in a sleepy state. When the parents watch their yard fill with water from the tides, they make a decision to get the moon back where it belongs. The full-page spread of each page fills the storyline with dreamy images filled with a flowing dark and with a moon that lights up the page. And the appearance of this magical night peaks around the corners of every page.

I Dare You Not to Yawn, by Helen Bourdreau, and illustrated by Serge Bloch, reads like a “how to” manual instructing you how not to be sent to bed. A young boy tells his reading audience not to yawn in front of parents because they’ll likely be judged too tired to stay up any more. The outcome will be to go straight to bed. Don’t look at anyone who is yawning “LOOK AWAY!” The combinations of the succinct text, along with the humorous drawings of digitally inked illustrations, make for great fun. Just don’t yawn while reading this book.

Again, by Emily Gravett, is the perfect going-to-bedtime story. It has few words, a delightful storyline, pictures that are bright and vibrant, and a unique fun ending. A young boy’s mother finishes reading to Cedric about a dragon who has exciting night-time adventures and never seems to have to go to bed. Later, the little boy’s mother is becoming a bit impatient because she wants him to go to sleep. So each time he begs for the story to be read “again”, she begins to change the storyline to the fact that Cedric should be getting tired. The last time she reads the story, there’s a surprise waiting that shows through the back of the book. The colors, made with oil-based pencil and watercolor, are brilliant and seem to jump off the page. 

N ComeBackCome Back, Moon, by David Kherdian, and beautifully illustrated by his wife Nonny Hogrogian, has a folk-tale feel with a simple and somewhat repetitive text. When a bear steals the moon and slips it under his pillow, he’s content that now the light won’t keep him awake. However, the forest animals are concerned because they are missing the moon. Each animal asks another animal if they know what happened to the moon and each follows as the next animal is approached. When the wise owl is asked, his answer leads them to solve the mysteriously missing moon. The soft illusions of watercolor and pencil used to make the pictures lend perfectly to this nice bedtime tale.

Small Blue and the Deep Dark Night, by Zion Davis, is a perfect book for children who are afraid of the dark. Big Brown is a big brown bear who takes care of Small Blue, who is a bunny. As Small Blue tells Big Brown the scary things he sees in the night, Big Brown settles him down with alternating images that propel a lighter mood and less scariness. The nicely and somewhat humorous animals drawn digitally when Big Brown describes what Small Blue could actually be seeing, should take the edge off going to sleep.

N SidneySidney, Stella, and the Moon, by Emma Yarlett, is another missing moon story only this time someone didn’t steal the moon. Sidney and Stella are sisters who have a problem sharing. When they argue over a ball, it bounces out the window and bounces up to the moon where it shatters the moon to pieces. Their hope is that no one notices. However, the next morning you witness the entire town alarmed about their missing moon. This is portrayed with a double-page foldout. How these girls come up with a solution, along with teaching them a valuable lesson about sharing, will likely bring a big cheesy smile to your face. The visual design is creatively portrayed helping make the story almost believable.

The Night Parade, by Lily Roscoe, and illustrated with soft hues of watercolor and ink by David Walker, is a magical event where youngsters will beg for the story to be re-read over and over again. Little children leave their beds dressed in their pajamas and head to town for their “night parade”. The rhyming tale takes on a sing-song pattern as tots play instruments, hold hands and march two-by-two. The poetic verse and the antics of these children make this a terrific read-aloud for bedtime.

N StellaStella’s STARLINER, by Rosemary Wells, depicts a silver trailer home where Houng Stella lives. She loves her home that’s a color that resembles the stars. But when some mean weasels make fun of her home and call it a “tin can”, she’s deeply hurt. However, a magical night is about to happen to soften the hurtful blows and help her appreciate the most important things in life which include family. The beautiful art was rendered in watercolor, gouache, pastel, ink, and colored pencil. 

Holly E. Newton, M. A.

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