And even more great bedtime reads!

While reviewing my site stats, I’ve noticed that lots of people want bedtime selections for their little sweethearts (or maybe for their little hellions…maybe THAT’S why they’re so anxious to get them to sleep). Here are some new discoveries in the Klempner household.

Product Details
This Little Chick by John Lawrence tells the adventures of a wacky little chick who would rather speak the languages of the other barnyard animals than that of his family. The woodblock print illustrations are just fantastic, and my children laughed at the chick’s antics. Ages 18 mo – 5 years.
A Book of Sleep
A Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na has to be one of the most dreamily illustrated boardbooks I’ve ever seen. A wakeful owl watches over sleepy animals of all types until day arrives. The language is simple and lulling, and the pictures are filled with fanciful whorls and flowers and vines faintly sketched against the blocks of color. My favorite illustrations are those of the giraffe using the cloud as a pillow and the penguins huddled together. Perfect for ages 18 mo through 4 years.
The next Jewish holiday, a month and a half away, will be Chanukah. Here’s a fun story to celebrate the holiday:
Asher and the Capmakers: A Hanukkah Story
Asher and the Capmakers by Eric Kimmel isn’t precisely a folktale. This is a whimsical, darkly humorous story–about the mysterious adventure a boy has when he runs to the neighbor to borrow an egg for the family’s latkes–created by interweaving folktales from many traditions. I’d recommend this one for children 5 to 10 years old. It’s a little scary for the youngest readers. Also, some families might be uncomfortable with the mention of fairies and their magical caps.

Great Bedtime Stories beyond _Goodnight Moon_

Interrupting Chicken

I’m feeling inspired by the wonderful new book by David Ezra Stein, called The Interrupting Chicken. My children and I are going to list a few other of our favorite bedtime stories.
Bedtime for Mommy, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Turnabout is fair play in this uproariously funny, topsy-turvy tale.
Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go to Sleep
Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go to Sleep is a wonderful way to address children’s fears at bedtime, plus teaches a healthy way to cope with these troubles. Also, there is a touching relationship between the big brother and his little sister.
We found the adorable Sleepyhead inside our Cheerios box at breakfast one day. Very charming, very snuggly.
As anyone whose read my blog already knows, I’m slightly obsessed with books by Sandra Boynton. Here’s her silly, but soothing, bedtime classic, The Going to Bed Book.

Good Night, Gorilla

With very few words, Peggy Rathman leads children on a fabulous bedtime adventure in Goodnight Gorilla.

Artscroll publishes a whole series of wonderful, wholesome anthologies full of very short stories, just right for bedtime reading. They are widely available in Jewish bookstores and online.
Hanna's Sabbath Dress
This story is perfect for a Friday night: Hanna’s Sabbath Dress. The original Hebrew version of this book has long been a favorite of my children. Hanna is a little girl who has just received a new, white Shabbos dress from her mother. When she does an act of kindness, there are unforeseen consequences. How will she ever bring herself to face her mother?

Last, but not least: the brand new, absolutely fabulous Hashem is Truly Everywhere by Chani Altein, with pictures by the fabulous, local-to-L.A. artist, Marc Lumer!
Put in your bedtime story suggestions in the comments below.

After Bedtime

This week, we will celebrate the holiday of Shavuot. On the first night, many Jews have the custom to stay up all night to learn Torah, showing how excited they will be to receive the Torah again in the morning. What follows is not a Jewish story, but it is about how much children yearn to stay up late.

It was Leo’s bedtime. He took a warm bath and slipped into his favorite pajamas, the ones with basketballs all over. He drank a glass of milk with his graham cracker then brushed his teeth. His parents sent him off to bed.

“Goodnight!” said his mother.

“Don’t let the bedbugs bite!” added his father.

But Leo couldn’t sleep. He heard his parents moving around downstairs. He wondered what they were doing down there, after bedtime.

Once he had asked, “Dad, why do I have to go to bed at eight?”

His father had answered, “A growing boy like you needs rest so you can play in the morning.”

“Don’t you need energy for work in the morning, Dad?” Leo had asked.

“Yes, Leo, but I’m not a growing boy anymore. When you are a big man like me, then you will be able to stay up a little later, too.”

Leo sighed and wished he had grown big already.

After bedtime, Leo thought, Mom and Dad probably play with my Legos. I’ll just bet that Dad builds big skyscrapers, and then knocks them down, one-by-one.

And Mom is busy pushing my trains down the tracks, over the bridges and through the tunnels. She keeps adding more and more cars to the train, until the train gets too long and won’t stay together anymore when it rounds the corners.

Next, they take turns riding my pogo stick. Because they’re grown up, I’ll bet they share nicely and have no fights over whose turn is next.

After bedtime, Mom and Dad probably play ball in the house. Maybe that’s the real reason Mom had to buy a new lamp last week.

All that exercise must make them hungry. I’ll bet they order pizza. And, of course, they have ice cream afterwards. That must be why the carton empties out so fast!

Next, Mom hops on my bike, and Dad grabs the scooter. They race around the house, starting at the front door. The foot of the stairs is the finish line.

When they reach the stairs, they go to their room and change into their pajamas. They climb into bed. Are they ready to sleep? Oh, no, they’re not! They jump up and down on the beds until they can touch the ceiling.

Then they pick up their pillows. Mom shouts, “Pillow fight!” They whack each other with the pillows until they really and truly are tired and can fight no longer.

Finally, Mom and Dad are ready to sleep. Maybe they tuck each other in. Mom says, “Goodnight!” and Dad says, “Don’t let the bedbugs bite.”

I’m going to catch them tonight, thought Leo. Slowly, he crept out of bed. He tried very hard not to make a single sound as he tiptoed down the stairs.

Peeking around the corner, he found his parents in the kitchen. His mother stood washing dishes, while his father swept the floor.

“Leo’s getting very big,” said his father.

“Yes,” replied his mother, stifling a yawn. “Maybe we should let him stay up a little later.”