Sign up for Meridian’s Free Newsletter, please CLICK HERE

Reading out loud to youngsters at bedtime will build memories for a lifetime. Furthermore, selecting great books that will entice children, along with settling them down, will help them look forward to bed. This should help eliminate the struggles of getting them to go to bed. For older kids, reading great chapter book page-turners should do the trick (although they won’t want you to stop reading). Here is a list of seven outstanding picture books about bedtime that are perfect for ages four to eight.

Lion’s Lullaby, by Mij Kelly, and beautifully painted with soft hues of blue, yellow and green by Holly Clifton-Brown, is a story about different animals becoming sleepy. The rhyming text takes you through the entire book before you find who is helping these sweet-looking animals prepare for bed. The surprise will make you smile.

Mr. Moon, by Michael Paraskevas, explores the many preparations while Mr. Moon is awake, Miss Sun is asleep and the sky is a deep cerulean blue. Men go about on high ladders and fluff up clouds, stars arrive on moonbeams and dewdrops glitter as the night ends. There is much to do as each double-page displays a full page display of brilliant color from top to bottom. This book should create some fanciful dreams.

When The World is Dreaming, written in simple rhyme by Rita Gray, and painted with soft hues of watercolor and digital media by Kenard Pak, is a sweet story about several small animals being followed by a girl who wonders what these animals dream about when they sleep. Each animal is moving across a double-page as she ponders the question. The reader discovers the ingenious answer which is written in italics. For example, Little Snake imagines, “Catching the end, the Kate sets sail, / and tailing behind, I am the tail!”

The Little Elephant Who Wants to Fall Asleep, by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin, and illustrated by Sidney Hanson, has achieved high marks from parents around the world. The author uses various techniques and gives valuable advice to help unwind youngsters and help them relax for a nice, long nighttime sleep. The story is about a young elephant going on a magical adventure through a forest where he eventually falls asleep. What makes this book a success in helping young children go to sleep is the way the story is written. Also, the author gives techniques on how to read the story to help relax and soothe the listener. You’ll find tips at the beginning and back of the book along with helpful hints for a restful success also found at the back of the book.

Dormouse Dreams, by Karma Wilson, and created in pencil and colored digitally by Renata Liwska, is a sweet rhyming tale about a tiny dormouse snuggled inside his pine tree house. He dreams about being with his best friend and “of the days they can play hide-and-seek / in the tall grass by the whispering creek.” Throughout the story, while he sleeps and you see his possible dreams, you also witness animals outside in the snow scurrying and playing and having fun. You also see his friend bustling towards his little house. The charming pictures and delightful poetic text go together perfectly. 

It is Not Time for Sleeping (A Bedtime Story), by Lisa Graff, and perfectly painted with ink and watercolor by Lauren Castillo, has a boy who repeats throughout, as he gets ready for bed, “It is not time for sleeping”. As he finishes his dinner, you see the daylight dimming outside the window. Mom says that it’s been a nice day. But he says it’s still a good day and repeats the book title. But as the story progresses he becomes tired as night falls. The last thing that both parents and he share makes a perfect ending!

Goodnight Everyone, by Chris Haughton, revels in the routine of preparing for a nighttime of sleep. The opening page shows a menagerie of sleepy eyes as night falls, except for the wide-awake eyes belonging to baby bear. As each family of animals yawn, stretch and sigh, baby bear is still wide awake. But soon his attempts of these night time antics pays off and his eyes begin to close. The colors throughout are a powder pewter and billowy blues and were made digitally. Be sure to check out the end pages showing our solar system and the sun shining on half of earth.