Isn’t it strange how something years removed can suddenly pop into your head for no apparent reason? That just happened to me today.
Early this morning, as I was folding laundry, I started singing the song from a French children’s book that I had read to my children when they were little:
Je t’aimerai toujours,
La nuit comme le jour,
Et tant que je vivrai,
Tu seras mon bébé.
We also read this book in English. Its title was Love You Forever, written by Robert Munsch. I always appreciated the premise of the story: that no matter how old your children are, they will always be your babies. Now, driving across town with a ladder strapped to my car and sneaking into my children’s room so that I can rock them in their sleep…umm, that’s not gonna happen. That’s just a little too “stalky” for me. (My kids are probably breathing a sigh of relief right now.)
Anyway, after my spontaneous sing, I began thinking about all of my children’s’ bedtime favorites. My kiddos certainly loved sleepytime storytime, so they had quite a few faves, including these most frequently requested ones:
- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day: For the low-down on this wonderful tale written by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Ray Cruz, please read my book review.
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?: Written and illustrated by Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle, this sing-songy, easy-to-read book is great for teaching toddlers colors. According to my youngest child, all the animals are pretty cool too.
- The Butter Battle Book: Written by Dr. Seuss, this book addresses prejudice and how discrimination often leads to violence. The book also takes on war and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
- Goodnight Moon: No matter what other stories I would read at bedtime, this book, written by Margaret Wise Brown, was always the last one we would share. What a wonderful way to say goodnight.
- Green Eggs and Ham: That Sam I Am, that Sam I Am, my kids just adored that Sam I Am. Dr. Seuss’ classic was read so many times in our household that we all still can recite it by heart.
- Guess How Much I Love You, written by Sam McBratney: My children always tried to “one-up on me” when it came to who loved whom more. But, as Big Nutbrown Hare demonstrates, no matter how much our children love us, we will always love them more.
- I Love You to the Moon and Back: This sweet bedtime story, written by Amelia Hepworth and illustrated by Tim Warnes, shows the many ways we can show our affection for one another. It also is reminiscent of something I often told my ruggers: “As high as the sky, as wide as the sea, I love you and you love me.”
- Llama, Llama, Mad at Mama: This hilarious book, written by Anna Dewdney, was one that could relate to. My kiddos were not fond of shopping when they were little. Thankfully, they never threw a temper tantrum like Little Llama, but they were known to whine..a lot. Although all the Llama Llama books were wonderful, this was our favorite. (Sadly, the author of these books died from brain cancer in 2016; she was only 50 years old.)
- The Lorax: I am a conscientious caretaker of the earth and have tried to instill that same “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” and “Leave No Trace” mentality in my children, which is why we all love this classic Dr. Seuss tale. “I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees.”
- Marvin K. Mooney, Will You Please Go Now!: This Dr. Seuss quick-read about a guy who has clearly overstayed his welcome has always given us a chuckle.
- Strega Nona, written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola: My spouse has Italian roots, so any children’s book that contains pasta—lots and lots of pasta—is a hit in our household. And if magic is involved, well then, I’m all in!
- Tikki Tikki Tembo: This “fable”, written by Arlene Mosel, has one of my favorite childhood tongue-twisters, Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo. You know: I still love saying that! I think I will say that again…
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Another colorful, catchy read from author/illustrator Eric Carle, this book teaches toddlers to count and shows how a tiny caterpillar becomes a beautiful butterfly.
- We’re Going on a Bear Hunt: As a child and as a parent, I have always adored this interactive tale, written by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. With its catchy refrain and its use of onomatopoeia, my children and I loved acting out the story as we read it. Fun times!
- Where the Wild Things Are: An all-time classic, written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak, this tale tells of a mischievous boy with a big imagination. As a kid, I often went on flights of fancy to wondrous places like the land of the wild things. However, like Max, the place I most wanted to be was where someone loved me best of all.
- Who, Said Sue, Said Whoo?: This story, written by Ellen Raskin, is pure 70s with its funky illustrations. The cadence of the writing is catchy. In my youth, I read this book ragged. So, when I became a parent, I pulled out my frayed copy to share its charm with my own children. The main character, Sue, encounters many odd creatures like a billy goat’s ghost, a cross-eyed owl, and a polka-dotted cow, all who make strange sounds. But one sound Sue can’t figure out is chitter-chitter-chatter. What can it be? Hmmm…