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With Daylight Savings Time ending this weekend there will be darkness earlier in the evening inviting more reading.  These picture books, geared for ages three through seven, are wonderful stories to help lull youngsters to sleep.  The first four books are board books and are good for ages two through seven.

Who is Sleeping?  A Lift-the-Flap Book , by Petr Horacek, is filled with bright animals throughout as you discover who is sleeping behind each flap.  Who is sleeping behind the leaf?  Who is sleeping in the river? This quick read will certainly soothe little ones at bedtime.  Every open-page spread is gloriously filled with Horacek’s beautiful signature style.

Curious George: My First Bedtime Stories, by H. A. Rey, features the well-known monkey in six quickly read stories.  This is the perfect book when bedtime stories need to be fairly short.  The stories include: Good Night, Curious George, Curious George and the Firefighters and Curious George are you Curious? The cover is cushioned, and the pages are thicker for little hands.

Good Might, Starry Night, by Julie Appel, and illustrated by Amy Guglielmo, is the first book in this planned new series: “Peek-a-Boo Art”.  Each page has a die-cut circle that preludes the next page. Each of these pages feature famous paintings.   The paintings include van Gogh’s The Starry Night and Marc’s White Cat. What a nice introduction to beautiful art!

How Do You Say Good Night?, by Cindy Jin, and colorfully illustrated by Shirley Ng-Benitez,brings about the awareness and learning of different languages.  Youngsters will learn how to say goodnight to different animals as they ready for bedtime.  Some of the languages include Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese and German.

Nighttime Symphony, by Timbaland, and beautifully painted by Christopher Myers and with Kaa illustration, is a gorgeous digitally rendered book that fills each open spread with a rich splash of color.  Poetic words bring out the rhythm and patterns of the evening as a father settles his son down for bed.  The sounds the son hears are actually soothing sounds of life.  The rain as it beats upon the roof and the rhythm of the cars passing on the street evolves to the sounds of voices cooking over the outside barbecue.  All of these sounds, including the grandfather’s burst of laughter, equate to the love that surrounds the young boy.  This book should be a Caldecott nominee.

The Rabbit, The Dark and the Cookie Tin, by Nicola O’Byrne, is about a cute bunny who doesn’t want to go to bed.  He decides to kidnap “The Dark” and hide it inside a cookie tin.  But as you read through this delightful and unique story, Rabbit begins to realize that nocturnal animals need the dark, and the earth needs a break from hot summer days.  Then Rabbit realizes he will miss out on his delicious breakfast of honey toast and juice.  But even more than that, he will miss his bedtime stories that he looks forward to. And, there’s a pop-out surprise found at the back of the book.

Every Bunny Dream!, by Ellie Sandall, is a fun and delightful poetic story with full open-page pictures.  As the adorable little bunnies get ready for bed, they notice their friend, a small fox, is still amongst them.  The fox’s parents come looking for their little fox and end up staying for a nice cuddly sleepover.

Night Train: A Journey From Dusk to Dawn, by Annie Cronin Romano, and gorgeously painted digitally by Ileana Soon, is a train adventure that begins in the city and chugs along, ending in a small rural town. Dusk begins in the book as the train rattles from one destination to the other.  The free verse text perfectly describes the illustrations as the dusk darkens into night.  The train arrives as dawn arrives and color lightens the background.  Wheels a-clatter, creatures scatter – hissing, chugging, mountain-hugging night train.  Onomatopoetic rhythm surrounds the text making this a perfect read-out-loud.  You can almost hear the train clicking on the tracks. 

Let Me Sleep Sheep!, by Meg McKinlay, and perfectly illustrated in cartoon-like mixed-media by Leila Ridge, is a hilarious and perfect read-out-loud beginner bedtime story.  Amos is having difficulty sleeping and is beginning to count sheep.  But when some rambunctious sheep appear, sleep seems to disappear. They ask, Where’s the fence?  So, Amos begins building a rendition of one with his toys.  By the end of this clever story, guess who’s completely tired and ready for sleep?

For All the Stars Across the Sky, by Karl Newson, and gorgeously illustrated with pencil and colored by Chiaki Okada, showcases full-page spread displays of what could be.  When Mama asks her daughter, Luna, her nightly wish, this night Luna states, I wish We could fly like birds. So, their adventure begins soaring high into the sky.  You see stunning landscapes of rocky mountaintops and azure fields of grain. Each time Luna states her wishes the adventures change and shift accordingly.  The beautiful rituals of bedtime bonds parent with child.

Thunder Trucks, by Cheryl Klein and Katy Beebe, and boldly illustrated by Katy Boldt, showcases storms brewing overhead.  What is that loud rumble in the sky?  Was that a flash of lightening?  The crew of thunder trucks have arrived in the sky.  Bulldozers piled into giant heaps and tanker trucks haul rain as the trucks build a giant storm.  You’ll find important facts about weather in the back of the book.