There is no better way to end an evening for a child, a parent or a grandchild than by reading together. Even older children enjoy this ritual. My grandson is in second grade and he enjoys reading series books and there are plenty of them. But these books which feature fun stories have simple illustrations and don’t cut it as far as I am concerned for developing imagination or appreciation for literature.
There are many excellent books that fit this bill. And rather than an excitement filled series book, the beautifully illustrated books on this list can be the perfect prescription for a bedtime read. Here are some of my favorites and some new ones that come highly recommended and have parent/grandparent positive reviews at Amazon.
For Younger Children….
Good Night Owl written and illustrated by Greg Pizzoli
This book was named a Theodore Seuss Geisel Honor book yesterday morning by the American Library Association. It is a beautifully illustrated picture book describing an owl who can’t sleep until he finds out what is making a noise. Great reviews – especially for bedtime. To quote one – “warm colored illustrations set the perfect mood for this bedtime story.”
When Winter Comes by Nancy Van Lann Illustrated by Susan Gaber
With beautiful illustrations this book quietly asks the questions we all have… When winter comes what happens to fish, animals, mice, etc. and to a little boy (gets tucked in and goes to bed). This book is one of my favorites. It is a perfect go to sleep read. An early reader can read it to herself as you read in a soothing quiet voice. Before you know it, you will both be nodding off.
Time for Bed by Mem Fox Illustrated by Jane Dyer
Each page features an animal parent and child and bedtime with two short rhythmic written lines and ends with a mother tucking in a young child. I have a hardcover copy of this book but it is a popular board book also.
Even once children can read for themselves, it is a good idea for adults to read with them. This is often the best way to introduce children to books that would otherwise go unnoticed. I must say that I am unimpressed with the books my grandson brings home from the school library. Yes he is getting experience with reading himself but he is not being introduced to literature, history, ideas, artistic beauty, etc. These two books are ones we shared with our children and I have kept them to share with our grandchildren.
Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Illustrated by Susan Jeffers
Longfellow’s classic poem is complimented with captivating, stunning illustrations. Older children can read this themselves but it is a an outstanding book for an adult to introduce to and enjoy with an older child. Check out all the books illustrated by Susan Jeffers including Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening, All the Pretty Horses (my favorite for young children), Silent Night (my personal favorite) and Brother Eagle, Sister Sky. Susan Jeffers is a talented illustrator who adds to the pleasure of reading beloved poems and songs.
D’aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths by Ingri d'Aulaire and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire
This book of Greek myths has been the best introduction to Greek myths for generations and it is still in print. The well told myths are complimented with sophisticated drawings that are enjoyed by children and adults alike. It is an excellent way for adults to introduce classical literature to a younger generation and enjoy it together. My husband and I, like many reviewers at Amazon, shared this book with our children and have kept it on our bookshelf ready to share it with grandchildren. This is a great book for bonding with older children.