Books for bedtime
Four new picture book releases
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Time for Bed, Old House by Janet Costa Bates
Isaac is nervous about sleeping overnight at Grandpop’s house, but Grandpop puts him at ease by showing him how to “put the house to bed.” He guides Isaac through the house, turning off lights and closing curtains. When Isaac startles at creaking sounds, Grandpop tells him, “This old house makes sleepy sounds, just like you.” The book, full of rich watercolors, is a tender portrayal of a grandparent and grandchild relationship. Parents and grandparents may want to borrow from it when a child is nervous about staying the night in unfamiliar places. (Ages 3-7) —Rachel McClamroch, World Journalism Institute student
The Barn by Leah H. Rogers
“I am a barn,” this book begins. “I was built by many hands.” Watercolor and gouache illustrations depict a day in the life of a barn and its inhabitants. The repeated refrain, “I am a barn,” precedes specific descriptions: “swallows softly fly up to my deep, dark rafters,” “calves are tired now, and I can feel them fold into the straw.” With rhythmic prose, The Barn conveys the passing of time and introduces young readers to the valuable idea of rootedness. (Ages 2-7) —Anna Timmis, World Journalism Institute student
Winter Lullaby by Dianne White
A mother bear guides her cub through the winter forest. Small Bear hesitates to hibernate, but Mama Bear explains the importance of rest. The illustrations of brown bears, snow-laden trees, and straw bedding pop off the page with texture, complementing the text. Through the rhyming couplets and sensory detail, Winter Lullaby portrays the inherent design within nature and affirms the bond between mother and child. It’s a book to prepare children for bed, but it’s also a guide to enjoying rest while reflecting upon past or future adventures. (Ages 4-8) —Zac VanderLey, World Journalism Institute student
Walrus Song by Janet Lawler
With rhyming text, Lawler provides an engaging and educational peek into the life of a walrus: “Digging, wiggling, whiskers jiggling, Walrus, sea beast, wants a clam feast.” Timothy Basil Ering’s charcoal and acrylic illustrations show the walrus in all his blubbery, tusked, and mustached glory. The walrus makes his way across the ice: “Waddle. Walk. Slap! Slap! Walrus lumbers. Flippers flap.” They fight: “Walrus fight, blubbered might, clashing, crashing, tusks a-bashing.” The back of the book helpfully explains uncommon words and provides interesting walrus facts. (Ages 5-8) —Jonathan Harbour, World Journalism Institute student
Into the Forest (Bloomsbury, 2020) by Christiane Dorion is a large format, illustrated book about forests. The author weaves scientific explanations into a tapestry of forest scenes. Monkeys, birds, and chipmunks eat, sleep, and play in vibrant pastel illustrations. Bright pictures will appeal to younger children, and more advanced readers can tackle the longer paragraphs and challenging words. —Neva Piombino, World Journalism Institute student
Rachel Ignotofsky’s What’s Inside a Flower? And Other Questions About Science & Nature (Crown Books, 2021) is a gorgeous book about flowers—where they grow, what they look like, and why they bloom on plants.
In Masters of Disguise: Camouflaging Creatures & Magnificent Mimics (Candlewick Studio, 2021), Marc Martin uses watercolor, pencil, and digital collage to create vibrant two-page spreads that hide the animals he writes about. The book is informative and fun for children looking for the hidden polar bears, owls, sloths, and other creatures concealed in different landscapes. —Susan Olasky
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