Arlo, The Lion Who Couldn’t Sleep (Catherine Rayner)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Arlo, The Lion Who Couldn’t Sleep by Catherine Rayner, a stunning bedtime story for the sleep-deprived.

Arlo is exhausted, yet sleep eludes him; everything seems to interrupt his attempts to settle. The grass is too prickly, the trees too noisy, the sun too hot, and his family pride of lionesses too wriggly. After trying everything he can think of to get some rest, Arlo comes upon an owl, who sympathizes – she must sleep during the day when it’s hot and sunny and noisy. Asking for her advice, Owl supplies him with the meditative song she sings to herself, to direct her thoughts and calm her body, until she can sink into sleep. Listening to his new friend’s song and following her direction, Arlo finds himself finally drifting off and awakening many hours later, refreshed and renewed. But in his excitement to tell Owl, he inadvertently wakes her up from her own slumber! Not to worry: Arlo now has a proven way to help soothe his new friend back to sleep.

Magical. Combining a soothing pace and relaxing text with gorgeous illustrations of gently endearing characters against magnificent landscapes creates a pitch-perfect bedtime tale for bookworms of any age. Owl’s soothing bedtime song – which features no specific melody, but can be easily and satisfyingly read as it appears – is frankly wonderful advice for those who struggle to find peace at bedtime; even adults may find her meditation helpful. And combined with the show-stopping art, it’s impossible to not fall under the story’s spell. The length was perfect for bedtime (what else?), and JJ adored both the art and story. Simply put, this one is a winner – Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Stop That Yawn! (Caron Levis)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Stop That Yawn!, written by Caron Levis and illustrated by LeUyen Pham, a wonderfully unique bedtime fairytale.

Gabby is plumb tired of being, well, tired. All the pajamas, storytimes, and lullabies are simply too humdrum, and she’s ready for a change of pace. So one night, she convinces her Granny to take her to Never Sleeping City, arriving on her flying bed. Here is a place where there are no bedtimes, no sweet dreams, and nothing to do but stay up all night at carnivals, shows, and parties. But as Gabby and Granny are enjoying the ferris wheel, it happens: a yawn! Escaping from Granny’s mouth, the yawn quickly spreads through the city, overtaking the human and anthropomorphic animal citizens alike. Gabby tries to keep the partiers, the marching band, the mayor and even the reader from spreading the yawn and drifting off to sleep, but to no avail – once a yawn is passed on, there’s no stopping it. At last, Gabby accepts that a little sleep isn’t the worst thing, and settles in to bed with Granny – to keep the party going in her dreams.

Strange, delightful, and fabulously creative. Launching from the idea of the contagious yawn – a phenomena we’re all familiar with – the story ties into timeless imaginings of kids at bedtime: a place where they can stay up as late as they want, and the fight to stay awake even as sleep overtakes them. The Never Sleeping City, even in a half-muted palette, is a treasure trove of detail and character, and was a joy to explore along with Gabby. And the story balances the excitement of an adventure with the tone of a bedtime story nicely, gently concluding that sleep may not be as fun, but it’s necessary and inevitable. The length was great and JJ loved the vivid illustrations. A fresh and fun bedtime story, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved.

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

Bear Snores On (Karma Wilson & Jane Chapman)

Hello, friends! Today’s book is Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman, the first story in the popular Bear series by the author/illustrator team.

Bear is curled tightly in his warm winter cave, enjoying a long nap as the winds howl outside. Escaping the winter weather, a small mouse happens upon the cave, and decides to light a small fire to warm himself, confident that his actions will not disturb Bear. Soon, Hare and Badger join the fun, bringing treats and tea and catching up. Soon more animal friends appear, bringing with them food and conversation, and a small but raucous party begins to form. The friends are having so much fun, in fact, they seem to have forgotten that they are sharing the cave with the very sleepy bear… and that a giant sleeping bear might not appreciate being woken up!

The Bear series has become very popular with little readers and parents for a reason, and this book is a perfect example of why. The story is charming, and features a sweet, humorous conclusion. The rhyming text flows well and is fun to read, and has onomatopoeia and the option for many different voices to make reading it aloud quite fun. The illustrations are darling, managing to create characters that are both lifelike yet extremely expressive. The length is perfect, and JJ always enjoys the Bear books, especially this one. A great start to a great series, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

It Is Not Time For Sleeping (A Bedtime Story) (Lisa Graff)

Hello, friends! Today, we read It Is Not Time For Sleeping (A Bedtime Story), written by Lisa Graff and illustrated by Lauren Castillo, an adorably sweet story about a little boy counting down the steps of his bedtime routine.

Dinner is finished, and a little boy’s mother remarks that it has been a nice day. “It IS a nice day,” he replies, because he knows that it’s not yet time for sleeping. No, first there are dishes to wash, a bath to take, a story to read. And of course, he couldn’t possibly think of going to sleep without brushing his teeth or saying goodnight to his beloved dog Jasper. So when IS it time for sleeping? When he’s in his pajamas? No. When he’s all tucked in? Not yet. No, it’s not yet time to sleep until he gets one last thing: a hug and kiss from Mom and Dad. Then, at long last, the boy can rest his head and go to sleep.

This was a charming book that could easily become a favorite bedtime story. I love that the many steps of the boy’s bedtime routine are partly him trying to stall for time and partly the serious officiousness all small children seem to have about following the steps of a routine in order. It gives the story a great voice and a feeling of authenticity. The art is adorable, creating a quiet, soothing atmosphere perfect for lulling little readers to their own sleep. Pacing and length is perfect, and JJ and I both loved this one. A simple, lovely story about going to bed, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Everyone Is Yawning (Anita Bijsterbosch)

Hello, friends! Today, we read Everyone Is Yawning by Anita Bijsterbosch, a fun lift-the-flaps book that features a host of sleepy animals, well… yawning! Each page has a new animal, and a flap to lift showing their wide-open mouth in a yawn, ending with a little child just like the reader and everyone snuggling down to sleep.

This book was a lot of fun for very little readers like JJ, who had a blast lifting all the flaps. The book is short, the illustrations bright and colorful, and the story is perfect for bedtime: the animals’ repeated yawning will make you and your little one join in by the book’s end. This one’s Baby Bookworm approved!