Good Night, Good Night (Sandra Boynton)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Good Night, Good Night by Sandra Boynton, the original, longer version of the author/illustrator’s massively popular The Going To Bed Book.

After nearly 40 years in circulation, The Going To Bed Book gets an expansion based on Boynton’s original 1985 version, with redrawn illustrations to accompany the evergreen bedtime tale’s new layout. Fans of the story will enjoy the familiar rhyming text as it follows a motley group of animals at sea as they prepare for bedtime – brushing teeth, taking a bath, putting on jammies, and even working in a spot of exercise to get out that last minute energy. New scenes include cuddling into bed and a performance by two bunnies of a jaunty song about dreams of playing in the mud (including lyrics and musical notation). At last, the animals cut the lights and let the ocean gently rock them to sleep.

For nearly the entire first two years of JJ’s life, her bedtime routine included reading The Going To Bed Book, a perfectly paced and executed book that readers have been enjoying for decades. So naturally, we were excited to read this expanded version, and we weren’t disappointed! Boynton’s illustrations include all the fun and familiar visuals of the original, spaced out and with additional details to spot but otherwise effortlessly merging old with new. The addition of the song changes the story’s rhythm a bit, but JJ enjoyed the silly, simple tune immensely. Both versions are delightful in their own way, and present an opportunity to caregivers who can start with the board book version for very little bookworms, then introduce the expanded version as they grow. Overall, this was a treat – a fresh and fun new version of an undisputed classic. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Sleep, My Baby (Dr. Lena Allen-Shore & Jacques J. M. Shore)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Sleep, My Baby, written by Dr. Lena Allen-Shore and Jacques J. M. Shore, and illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle, an enormously sweet lullaby from parent to child in board book form.

This bedtime serenade, based on a lullaby written by the author’s mother, opens on a mother carrying her baby upstairs in preparation for sleep. From there, the windows of a neighborhood are shown, with more mother-and-child pairs in different skin tones. The lullaby and art then travels the world, showing more cultures and types of caregiver-child bonds, including fathers, multi-generational, blended, and LGBTQ+ families. At last, the story circles back to the first mother and child, showing that there is nothing more universal than the love between parent and child.

Touching and tender. As the author explains in the forward and afterward, Allen-Shore – a multi-talented creator and educator, as well as a Holocaust survivor – created “Sleep, My Baby” as a lullaby for her sons while endeavoring to promote unity and human compassion. The art and simple structure of the text in this interpretation do a lovely job of combining all these themes, creating a bedtime board book that is perfect for the littlest bookworms and their caregivers. While the tune of “Sleep, My Baby” is not familiar (though it can be found online), the lyrics still work fine in spoken-word form, and the diverse illustrations in soft, dreamy twilight colors are soothing yet packed with detail. The length is perfect for bedtime, and JJ and I both loved it. This one was a treat, and we highly recommend it – Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Good Night Little Monkey (L.B. Fogt)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Good Night Little Monkey, written and illustrated by L.B. Fogt with layout by Rhonda Ernst, a sweet bedtime rhyme for little bookworms.

The sun has set, the day is gone, and it’s time for little monkeys to head to bed. In this case, “monkey” is synonymous with baby, as a charming, colorful cut-paper-art monkey leads readers through black-and-white stock photos of babies, saying goodnight to “monkey toes”, “little monkey ears”.

Very cute. This indie title has a few of the rough edges one might expect from a self-published book, including some out-of-focus images and a slightly nebulous theme, but the sweet tone and adorable monkey character makes these easy to overlook. The rhyming text is particularly well-balanced, flowing evenly and using simple language that sets a perfectly soothing pre-bedtime tone. The monkey character is a clever way to keep the visuals flowing and connect them to the text, and a banana-counting mechanic on the odd pages adds to the fun. The length makes it fine for any age, though the visuals and theme will be most engaging for baby and toddler-aged bookworms. Still, JJ and I both enjoyed it, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the author in exchange for an honest review.)

Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Say Good Night (Lauren H. Kerstein)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Say Good Night, written by Lauren H. Kerstein, and illustrated by Nate Wragg, second in the duo’s series featuring the titular pair.

Charlie and his pet dragon Rosie are back, and ready for bedtime. Well, Charlie’s ready; Rosie would like a few extra minutes, please? In fact, mischievous Rosie seems determined to bend or break the rules at every turn of Charlie’s well-organized bedtime routine for her: she tries to sneak juice into her water bottle, overdoes it with the bath bubbles, and picks out footie pajamas for her and her beloved toy horse, Vern (despite Charlie’s attempts to explain that she will overheat… which she does). And just when Charlie thinks Rosie is down for the count, a scary thunderstorm starts up…

Very cute. The delightful dynamic of the particular and rambunctious Rosie, who causes the majority of the bedtime-related snafus, and the ever-patient and caring Charlie is absolutely charming, and paired nicely with the conversational dialogue and colorful, entertaining illustrations. Little readers will sympathize with Charlie’s attempts to usher Rosie through her routine – and in turn, may sympathize with their parents doing the same for them. But perhaps the most unexpectedly heartwarming quality of the book was how much JJ ADORED it; she has asked for several repeat readings, a rarity. Whether intentionally or not, Rosie displays characteristics of someone with ASD; she is nonverbal, requires very specific routines and comfort items, and is distressed by sensory overload (a too-hot set of pjs, a thunderstorm, etc). Yet Charlie treats her proclivities and preferences with patience and kindness, never losing his temper or scolding his scaly friend. It makes for a surprisingly rich and, at least from our perspective, layered tale of caring for friends who may be different needs. Great length, lovely book, and definitely Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by a representative of the author in exchange for an honest review.)

Night Night, Dino-Snores (Nicola Edwards)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Night Night, Dino-Snores, written by Nicola Edwards and illustrated by Thomas Elliot, a bedtime touch-and-feel board book for little dino lovers.

Nighttime has come, and it’s time for little dinosaurs to go to sleep. Each of the nine species is introduced by name, then shown curling up, cuddling close, bedding down, and otherwise preparing for a night of sleep in their family groups. Dozing Diplos, tiny Pteros, and snoozing Spinos are all here, and ready for a cozy sleep under the starry skies.

Basic but sweet. This bedtime book has its positives: the rhyming text achieves a very nice, soothing, sleepy rhythm that genuinely feels relaxing, and the adorable illustrations of the tired little dinosaurs and their families, created in a dusty-twilight palette of colors, are charming and equally calming. The area where the title falters is its touch-and-feel elements, which seem completely random and arbitrary (flocked fleece on the spine of a stegosaurus? Holographic plastic scales on a brontosaurus that don’t even match the creature’s coloring?), and don’t correspond to anything in the text. It makes the element feel tacked on, and gives nothing to the overall tone of the story. It’s a lively little bedtime story, especially for dinosaur-lovers like JJ, and would have been fine without the disjointed interactivity attempt. Still, it’s a good length and a fun read, and JJ loved it, so it’s definitely worth a look. Baby Bookworm approved!