Sunday, July 13, 2014

Zzzz...WAKE UP!

The title of this post is a bit startling, wouldn’t you say? That’s about how insane some mornings can be for working parents, and the transition from day to night can be equally traumatic. As responsible parents, we aspire to make a smooth transition for our children, but it isn’t always possible. And just ask any teacher how his or her class will react to a change in their daily routine. It’s like the safety net has been yanked away and all chaos ensues. Recently, I ran across an article that explains the psychology behind these reactions. Here’s my favorite paragraph:

“Repetition and structure help children feel safe. Bedtime declares that the day is over. When you are loving and firm about when it is time for bed, you are building your children’s confidence in their world. Repetition for young children is comforting — ever wonder why they want the same story over and over? The repetition of the getting ready for bed routine (getting into pajamas, brushing teeth, a drink of water, a story, a hug, goodnight) lets your child know what to expect and helps him or her feel secure.”

Click on the link below to read the full article:

The Value of a Child’s Bedtime Routine

I’ve wanted to blog about bedtime routines and picture books for a long time, but let's get back to those crazy mornings first. Have you ever thought about reading a story to start off the day? That may be a stretch for some schedules, but I think it's a super way to open circle time in preschool too. I've been doing it with my grandson for over four years, and I'm happy to report that publishers are offering more and more titles for us to choose from every year. Here's a new one that I ordered the other day:

Wake Up, Rupert! by Mike Twohy

A rooster who just wants to sleep in gets a little help from a friend in this laugh-out-loud picture book from New Yorker artist Mike Twohy. Rupert the rooster knows that every morning when the sun comes up he must cock-a-doodle-do—no matter what. But Rupert is terrible at waking up! And even worse, he can never, ever sleep in. Life just isn’t fair. When his friend Sherman the Sheep volunteers for the job, everything is perfect. Or is it?

(The title and cover art grabbed my attention right away!)

I think this picture book will be a perfect match for our "good morning" song too:

(So precious!)

A few years ago, we made colorful roosters on popsicle sticks to dance along with the song.  They'd be a great follow-up activity for Wake Up, Rupert! as well.  Here's a snapshot of those:

(Make simple shapes out of construction paper and add Googly eyes.)

And here's another "good morning" picture book that we really enjoy reading. It comes with a 3-Song CD by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield:

Waking Up is Hard to Do
Music & Lyrics by Neil Sedaka & Howard Greenfield
Children's Lyrics by Neil Sedaka
Performed by Neil Sedaka
Illustrations by Daniel Miyares

One of the most popular songs in music history becomes one of the most delightful children’s books ever—complete with a CD featuring two completely new tunes by NEIL SEDAKA!

Rise and shine! It’s morning time. The alarm clock’s ringing, the birds are singing. Everything’s saying: get up, get going! Breakfast is warming, school is calling. The streets are bustling, all the world is stirring.

But does it seem so hard to you? Is waking up very hard to do? Come on, sleepyhead: get out of bed! Brush your teeth. Comb your hair. The minutes are passing. Don’t be late; the school bus won’t wait!
It’s sure to be a happy day with this bright and sunny picture book and CD, with new lyrics based on the hit song by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield. Daniel Miyares’s delightful art opens the eyes with its vivid colors, playful details, and adorable collection of animal characters.

And to make waking up just a little easier, there’s a CD with Neil Sedaka singing this happy song, plus two new songs with lyrics and music by Neil written especially for this CD: LIGHTNIN' JIM and SING.

Warm and friendly and full of fun, this is a musical and visual celebration of the everyday joys of home, family, and neighborhood.

Waking Up is Hard to Do was inspired by Neil Sedaka’s grandchildren and is part of a CD of the same name, which features a collection of Sedaka’s hits that were reinvented as children’s songs. The CD was a family collaboration in which Neil’s son Marc adapted four of his father’s classic songs, and Neil’s five year old grand-daughters made their recording debut as his backup vocalists.

(Ben loves singing this song!)

I usually read this next book after naptime:

Llama Llama Wakey-Wake by Anna Dewdney

Start a brand-new day the Llama way with this new board book by Anna Dewdney. A good day starts with breakfast and brushing, kissing and hugging.

And speaking of naptime, check out my grandson's cozy spot.  Note that the bookshelf is strategically placed.  LOL!   My grandson usually falls asleep under a pile of picture books, and he always has a friend or two:

(Gerald and Piggie are very popular!)

And here are a few of our favorites for naptime or bedtime.  They just can't be beat:

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrations by Clement Hurd

In a great green room, tucked away in bed, is a little bunny. "Goodnight room, goodnight moon." And to all the familiar things in the softly lit room--to the picture of the three little bears sitting in chairs, to the clocks and his socks, to the mittens and the kittens, to everything one by one--he says goodnight.

Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

A must-have board book for all babies.

Good night, Gorilla.
Good night, Elephant.

It's bedtime at the zoo, and all the animals are going to sleep. Or are they? Who's that short, furry guy with the key in his hand and the mischievous grin?

Good night, Giraffe.
Good night, Hyena.

Sneak along behind the zookeeper's back, and see who gets the last laugh in this riotous good-night romp.

This next picture book was an amazing discovery.  We've read it at least fifty times, so that says a lot:

The Maggie B by Irene Haas

A little girl's wish to sail for a day on a boat named for her " with someone nice for company " comes true.

And who doesn't adore this popular Disney character:

Goodnight, Thumper! by Kitty Richards
Illustrations by Lori Tyminski and Dean Gordon

Introducing Disney Bunnies! Thumper and his sisters are at their most endearing as they learn to count and do their best to avoid going to sleep. Adorable illustrations coupled with the bunnies mischievous antics are sure to delight little ones. The perfect size for Easter baskets, these board books will be popular long after the holiday...

We love this Llama, Llama book too:

Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney

Llama, Llama red pajama
waiting, waiting for his mama.
Mama isn’t coming yet.
Baby Llama starts to fret.

In this infectious rhyming read-aloud, Baby Llama turns bedtime into an all-out llama drama! Tucked into bed by his mama, Baby Llama immediately starts worrying when she goes downstairs, and his soft whimpers turn to hollers when she doesn’t come right back. But just in time, Mama returns to set things right. Children will relate to Baby Llama’s need for comfort, as much as parents will appreciate Mama Llama’s reassuring message.

Here's the author reading from Llama, Llama Red Pajama:

Next up...

The Sleepy Little Alphabet by Judy Sierra
Illustrations by Melissa Sweet

A fun read-aloud for little ones who are learning their ABCs.

It's sleepy time in Alphabet Town. But the twenty-six little letters of the alphabet all have something they need—or want—to do before big-letter moms and dads tuck them in. Not since the classic Chicka Chicka Boom Boom has there been such an appealing way to teach the youngest child the ABCs while providing a one-minute goodnight story. Of course, Melissa Sweet’s animated watercolor, pencil, and collage illustrations may beg for a little more time to match up all the toys with the right letters, and Judy Sierra’ s rollicking rhymed story will want to be heard again and again. Okay, so maybe it’ s a three-minute story!

(Bonus that I'm a huge fan of Melissa Sweet's artwork.)

My grandson also adores trains, so this one was a must:

Steam Train, Dream Train by Sherri Duskey Rinker
Illustrations by Tom Lichtenheld

The team behind the #1 New York Times bestseller Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site returns with another fabulous book for bedtime! The dream train pulls into the station, and one by one the train cars are loaded: polar bears pack the reefer car with ice cream, elephants fill the tanker cars with paints, tortoises stock the auto rack with race cars, kangaroos stuff the hopper car with balls (while zebras referee). Sweet and silly dreams are guaranteed for any budding train enthusiasts!

Check out the book trailer:


And we read this next group of stories a lot:

Tuck Me In! by Dean Hacohen and Sherry Scharschmidt

The stars are out. The moon is rising. All the baby animals, from peacocks to pigs to zebras, are ready for bed. Will you tuck them in and say good night? Just turn the pages and the big inviting flaps that serve as blankets cover each little creature up to its chin. This simple but endlessly satisfying novelty, with its array of goggle-eyed baby animals, bold patterns, and vibrant colors, is sure to be the book of choice for little ones everywhere, night after night.

Who needs to be tucked in? Turn each page until all baby animals--and little readers--are cozy and ready for sleep in this irresistible bedtime ritual.

Bears in Beds by Shirley Parenteau
Illustrations by David Walker

It’s time for Big Brown Bear to tuck all four little bears into their beds. Then he’s ready to climb into his own bed and turn out the light. Five warm beds, holding five sleepy bears, until a sound goes whoosh in the middle of the night, and all the bears wake up in a fright. Will they ever get back into bed? Luckily, Big Brown Bear knows just what to do! A fun, rhyming read-aloud that parents will love and tired little cubs will be happy to snuggle up with.

Also pictured:

Llama Llama Nighty-Night by Anna Dewdney

What’s the best part of bedtime? Stories with Mama! Before cuddling, Llama Llama must splish and splash in the tub, then put his red pajamas on.

Dewdney’s catchy rhymes, effortless rhythm, and adorable artwork can now be enjoyed by even younger audiences. Toddlers will love this perfect read-aloud.

And this one cracks us up every time:

The Napping House by Audrey Wood
Illustrations by Don Wood

A restless flea manages to wake up everyone in the house who was sleeping, including a mouse, cat, dog, boy, and his grandmother.

For all of you Froggy fans:

Froggy Goes to Bed by Jonathan London
Illustrations by Frank Remkiewicz

It’s time for bed! Not if Froggy has his way! Even after a long day of playing, Froggy’s still not tired. His bath is ready, but first Froggy has to find his boat. And where are his pajamas? And how did his toothbrush get into the cookie jar? Oh, Frrooggyy! Now it’s time to go to sleep, right? But Froggy can’t sleep without a bedtime story! Join Froggy as he hops, flops, and zips from one familiar bedtime ritual to another.

This one is especially fun for little boys:

Harry and Horsie by Katie Van Camp
Illustrations by Lincoln Agnew

When a boy named Harry
sneaks out of bed one night
with his best friend, Horsie,
to play with his Super Duper Bubble Blooper --
an out-of-this-world adventure begins!

Illustrated with retro-comic art, this is a charming story about the power of friendship and imagination from a talented new team.

Harry and Horsie inspired us to make a rocket mobile for something to dream about during naptime.  Ben's picture is peeking out a porthole on one side, and there's an alien peeking out of a porthole on the other side.  I used simple clipart to make a pattern, and the base is made out of cardboard cake circles, ribbon, and clothespins:

3-2-1 ... Blast off!

And if you're looking for bedtime stories to read during the holiday season, here are a few of our favorites:

Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody
Written and Illustrated by Michael Rex

It’s time for bed, but one little goon still isn’t ready for sleep! With lively rhymes and cheeky art that’ll get readers howling, this hilarious take on the beloved classic will have a whole new audience saying, "Goodnight monsters everywhere!"

Also pictured:

Hush, Little Monster by Denis Markell
Illustrations by Melissa Iwai

A classic lullaby gets a playfully spooky spin in this monstrously sweet picture book.

Hush, Little Monster, don’t you howl.
Daddy’s gonna give you a…screeching owl.
If that owl won’t say “whoo whoo”…
Granny Ghost will bring you a big, bad boo!

A monster father softly sings his own version of a favorite lullaby to his son. A screeching owl, a vampire, an ogre, and zombies are just a few of the creatures who will come to soothe Little Monster through the night, until (when the sun comes up) it’s finally time for him to go to sleep. Parents and children alike will love this humorous twist on “Hush, Little Baby.”

The Night Before Christmas
By Rachel Isadora
Illustrator: Rachel Isadora

A gorgeous reimagining of the beloved Christmas poem, set in Africa.

Since Clement Clarke Moore penned this Christmas classic in 1825, it has been beloved by children around the world. Now, Caldecott Honor winner Rachel Isadora sets the poem in Africa, capturing the anticipation and excitement of Christmas in her stunning collages. Children will pore over the enchanting artwork?brimming with special touches like traditional African toys and a Santa who sports dreadlocks?as they chime along with the familiar rhyming text.

(Click here to see a fun craft that we made for The Night Before Christmas.)

Also pictured:

Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson

Bear's friends are determined to keep Bear awake for Christmas! So they wake Bear up and have him help them find a Christmas tree, bake cakes, hang up stockings, and sing Christmas songs. Bear stays up--by discovering that giving is one of the best Christmas presents!This 6 x 6 Classic Board Book comes with rounded corners.

(Such a sweet board book!)


We sure have a lot of bedtime stories, but I'm always on the lookout for more.  Do you have a favorite that isn't listed in this post?  If so, please feel free to leave a comment.  One can never have too many books.  I'll be back next week to share my summer book order.  Until then, happy reading!

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