Elem. – This Book Will Get You to Sleep

John, Jory. This Book Will Get You to Sleep. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2022. 978-0-374-31130-8. Unpaged. $18.99. Grades PreK-2.

A charismatic, orange kangaroo narrates this story with one goal in mind: to get the reader to sleep. He tries many different tactics, most of which are outrageous and hilarious. For instance, he suggests that rumbling monster trucks, blaring car alarms, or screaming electric guitars might make the reader tired. He tries chants, magic tricks, and other strategies until he finally resorts to suggesting that the reader count sheep. There is a problem; however, these sheep are being chased by dragons! When all of the excitement fails to put the reader to sleep, the narrator suggests reading something less fun instead. Bold illustrations and colorful text add to the rowdiness of the story. A humorous tale with a refreshing take on bedtime drama, this book is sure to elicit plenty of laughs from young children. 

THOUGHTS: I love how interactive this book is, inviting readers to answer questions posed by the kangaroo (“You tired yet???” “You asleep yet???” “You dreaming yet???”).  The audience is also encouraged to participate in various chants throughout the story. Pair this with other stories about falling asleep, such as Drew Daywalt’s Sleepy, the Goodnight Buddy (2018) or Dev Petty’s I Don’t Want to Go to Sleep (2018). This book quickly will become a bedtime favorite!

Picture Book          Julie Ritter, PSLA Member

Elem. – The Froggies Do NOT Want to Sleep

Gustavson, Adam. The Froggies Do NOT Want to Sleep. Charlesbridge, 2021. Unpaged. 978-1-580-89524-8. $16.99. Grades K-2.

Like so many children, the frogs in this book do NOT want to go to sleep. It starts simple: they want to hop.  Then it becomes more complex: they want to practice their accordions and ride their unicycles. Eventually it’s downright absurd: they want to sing opera while firing themselves out of cannons…and the adventure leads to outer space and extraterrestrials. But slowly they fall, slowly, slowly, into bed, asleep. The long-legged frogs have wonderful abilities and imaginations, and their eyes convey their enthusiasm for their outrageous adventures. The illustrations will bring laughs, and readers could easily add imagined ideas of their own!

THOUGHTS: A funny bedtime book for children and adults.

Picture Book          Melissa Scott, Shenango Area SD

Elem. – Bedtime for Sweet Creatures

Grimes, Nikki. Bedtime for Sweet Creatures. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2020. 978-1-492-63832-2. Unpaged. $17.99. PreK-Grade 2.

This endearing bedtime story follows a mother and toddler through a bedtime routine that will be all too familiar to families with young children. What makes it unique, however, is the way in which the child’s stalling tactics are compared to animals in the jungle. For instance, the child roars like a lion for the mother to check under the bed for monsters, clings to the mother like a koala for one last kiss, and emerges from bed like a sly wolf in order to fill a glass of water. The illustrations add to the allure, combining realistic human figures with fantastical jungle creatures. This fresh twist on the often documented struggles of putting young children to bed will be sure to delight parents and children alike.

THOUGHTS: I think this title would make the sweetest bedtime story and/or read aloud. It could also be used in an educational setting, as it contains an abundance of similes and metaphors. After hearing the story, perhaps students could write their own tales in which they compare themselves to jungle animals using these figures of speech. This is an excellent choice for any library serving young children.

Picture Book          Julie Ritter, PSLA Member

Elem. – Woodland Dreams

Jameson, Karen. Woodland Dreams. Chronicle Books, 2020. 978-1-452-17063-3. Unpaged. $17.99. Grades PreK-2. 

In this cozy story, a young girl takes a walk through the woods on a late autumn evening. Accompanied by her dog and a notebook, the girl says goodnight to the animals she sees and encourages them to settle into their sleeping place. Each two page spread features a different forest animal. The rhyming text is written in an AA-BB sequence and describes the animal’s behavior in just a few words, like “Berry Picker” and “Honey Trickster” for the bear. Before this verse, the author includes a short phrase that begins with “Come Home,” and is followed by a two word description of the animal. For example, Jameson calls the squirrel “Bushy Tail” and the woodpecker “Strong Beak” instead of using their common names. As the night draws in, snow flurries begin to fall and the pair returns home to their cabin, where it is now the girl’s turn to go to bed. Boutavant’s charming illustrations capture the atmosphere of the season, and the reader can almost feel the chilly night wind just like the fox. On the last two pages, the illustrator displays the girl’s own drawings from her notebook, depicting the wildlife that she observed.

THOUGHTS: With its comforting text and cadence, this book makes for a wonderful bedtime story, which will surely help children settle down to sleep. It is also a good choice for fall or early winter storytimes. To make it more interactive, the librarian could ask students to guess the type of animal just by listening to the words and afterwards show the pictures. Highly recommended for all elementary collections.

Picture Book          Denise Medwick, Retired, PSLA Member

Elem. – Goodnight Veggies

Murray, Diana, and Zachariah OHora. Goodnight Veggies. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: 2020. 978-1-328-86683-7. Unpaged. $17.99. Grades PreK-2.

Evening has arrived, and the urban, rooftop garden settles down for the night, because even young vegetables need their rest. An engaging worm (reminiscent of Lowly Worm from Richard Scarry books) on his way home to bed guides the reader through an over- and underground tour of the garden, as each vegetable yawns and begins to nod off. A lullaby with the tomatoes, a bedtime story with the broccoli; each vegetable has its own bedtime routine. And why are the young vegetables so tired? Because they are so busy growing! The rhyming text is sparse, giving center stage to the illustrations. Any young readers who think they don’t like vegetables may change their minds after interacting with the delightful artwork. It’s hard not to like an eggplant who dreams of going into space.

THOUGHTS: A fun book for one-on-one reading or at story time. Youngsters will no doubt enjoy finding their favorite veggie or maybe not-so-favorites, and lively discussions will ensue.

Picture Book          Nancy Nadig, Penn Manor SD