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Thursday, October 13, 2016

It's time for us to dream...: Old School versus New School Bedtime Stories

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for (*YAWN*) Insatiable Readers...

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Pardon the lyric borrow for today's post title (a throwback to my childhood with Teddy Ruxpin...anyone else remember him?), but the books we're about to feature had me in a particular frame of mind...bedtime...which as it turns out is EXACTLY the point!  

You remember storytime, right?  Or more precisely, the joys of selecting a title to read or be read to as we settled in for a night's sleep?  Yeah...those were the best, but finding the right combination of story and desired result could be a bit of a challenge.  You want something that kept your interest but not so much that you're keyed up and can't fall asleep.  Something long enough to take you on a journey to sleepy land but not so much that you feel dropped off like a taxi at an airport.  The same struggle exists when selecting books for the kiddos because you KNOW if they're not interested, you're getting pretty much nowhere fast.  ^-^  That's where today's post comes in.

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Today, we're talking old school versus new school in the bedtime storybook battle, and I've three titles to share with you that illustrate both sides of the "debate".  KNOW THIS...there are no wrong or right choices here; it's all about the right fit for YOUR reader/listener, but it's definitely great to see the options that exist.  Ready, Freddy (and everyone else who isn't named Freddy)?  Grab your favorite pair of pajamas, teddy bear, and blanket, because here come a trio of titles just waiting to whisk you away to a world of your dreams.  First up, our new old school selection....

Monsters Go Night-Night by [Zenz, Aaron]

Aaron Zenz
Abrams Appleseed

First up, a good old fashioned monster filled tale to get the kiddos ready for bed.  No, I'm not being facetious, it's true!  This vibrantly colored tale leads kids through the world of monsters, allowing them to guess what they snack on, wear to bed, snuggle with, and more, all while leading them a wonderful "who they kiss goodnight" that'll have wee ones ready for that smooch to send them off to dreamland.  I can easily see little girl and boy "monsters" getting into this simple yet clever read.  The length of the tale will serve those parents well that still want to share bedtime reading memories, but have little ones that tucker out a little quicker.


Now it's time to open the door to the new school bedtime reads with two selections that both aim to gently lull their readers sleepyland in somewhat science backed ways.  Curious?  Yes, so was I, and although I've not got little ones to try it on directly, I did try it with an older reading audience and yes, take the "warnings" in the front of the books to heart; they do in fact make you SLEEPY!  It's all about the way the stories are worded, the repetitive nature of certain phrases, the tone of voice recommended for use in particular places, and the dreamy quality of the illustrations, which by the way are UTTERLY AMAZING in BOTH titles.  Enough intro, here's the scoop...

Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin
Illustrated by
Sydney Hanson
Crown Books for Young Readers

I'm sorry, but even before I got to the adorable story, I was so taken by the cover that I wanted a print to frame on my wall.  It's THAT gorgeous, and they just keeping coming with every turn of the page.  Older readers can appreciate the beauty of the scenes as the story progresses while little ones can lose themselves in the journey that Ellen the Elephant is taking them on to HER bed.  It's a trip through a magical forest filled with other sleepy friends, like Snoozy Mole and Roger the Rabbit, all getting ready for bed themselves, and each encounter is another chance to reinforce the "time for bed" theme, and encourage little ones to follow their own star paths to their dreams. It "allows" readers/listeners the chance to duck out of the story early if the desire to sleep comes quicker than the tale's end, thereby eliminating that struggle wee ones sometimes feel to STAY AWAKE to not miss a moment.  The blend of science and story was a perfect harmony, and the illustrations serve as the icing on the dream cake.

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Daniel G. Amen, M.D.
Illustrated by
Gail Yerrill

In this new school bedtime selection, the illustrations are just as gorgeous, but while the first was about the journey and friends met along the way, this one's emphasis is more on the activities the friends are participating in, and the amount of time that passes in the blink of an eye.  Here, we've a momma bear reading to a baby bear, who wonders just WHY he has to go to sleep.  Momma bear explains to her little one its importance and that she'll read him a story to help him get ready for dreamland.  So, it's a story within a story, where all their friends meet and enjoy a fun filled day at the beach, a bath, snack, and eventually snuggle in by the fireside and nod off one by one by one...until the last little eyes closing are the ones belonging to YOUR little one.  The length of the tale is a tad longer than our old school choices, but no so much so that your wee ones will be struggling to keep their eyes open in order to reach book's end and with the gentle color palette employed, it visually encourages relaxation.


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So, you see, there are many choices in the bedtime story there should be...and just what tale you choose all depends on the audience.  The important thing is that you DO celebrate those joys of reading every which way you can.  They'll create lasting memories for all involved and open the door to a lifelong relationship with literature that'll serve them well.

Special thanks to the wonderful folks at Abrams Appleseed, Crown Books for Young Readers, and Zonderkidz for the copies for review.  (THANKS!)  These titles are available now, so be on the lookout for them on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing.

Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!

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