Like many families, books are a major part of the bedtime routine at our house. After baths, brushing teeth, and pajamas, the kids pick out a handful of books to read. Here are our top favorites:
Before I begin, a few notes…
- First, these books were favorites of our kids when they were infants or toddlers. Preschooler James requested other books as a first choice. However, when we read these favorites to Jonathan, James always wanted to listen and play along. In fact, he often requested Pajama Time so he could do the Pajama Bop with his brother (but he still wanted to pick out a pile of his favorites, too!).
- Second, these are all board books because, again, these are favorites for infants and toddlers.
- Finally, you’ll notice our copies are pretty worn. But that’s just the mark of a loved book, in my opinion.
1. The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton — You knew a Sandra Boynton book would top this list, right? Rhyme and perfect rhythm make this book a joy to read. The kids like the silly animal characters.
The story line reinforces the bedtime routine (bath, brushing teeth, pajamas, turning off the light, etc.). The last line is perfect for drifting off to sleep… “The moon is high The sea is deep. They rock… and rock… and rock… to sleep.” Loved reading that line to the kids while in the rocking chair.
2. Pajama Time by Sandra Boynton — Another Sandra Boynton creation doesn’t disappoint. It features her signature goofy animal characters getting their pjs and then doing the Pajama Bop. My kids loved singing and dancing along. I love chanting the line, “Jamma jamma jamma, jamma, P! J!”
So yeah, we’re not rocking to sleep during this book, but the last page does help them off to dreamland. It’s a fun one and a favorite of Jonathan.
3. Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann — One of James’ infant/toddler favorites, this book has few words but creates a cute story. Children help tell the story. Even before James could speak, he participated by pointing to the animals, or the keys, or the balloon, or the mouse and banana (which are hidden on each page).
The gorilla steals the keys from the zookeeper. As he tells each animal good night, the gorilla follows, releasing each animal. They follow the zookeeper home and his wife is in for a surprise!
4. I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rossetti-Shustak — Sigh. This one is a favorite. So much of a favorite that it’s hard to write about. We read this to Jonathan each night when he was tucked into bed about to fall asleep. There are so many memories with this book.
It’s the story of a parent telling a child how much he is loved. Sitting, standing, running, walking, loud, quiet –> always loved. At times it was hard to read this book to Jonathan, given his health and development issues, but over time we came back to the fact that no matter what he is loved. And I loved reading this book.
The last lines were quoted at his funeral. And on his monument at the cemetery. I love you through and through, Jonathan… yesterday, today, and tomorrow, too.