Bedtime. It’s the time of day adults think is a reward and kids think is a punishment. Bedtime stories have long been seen as one of the ways to get kids to calm down and allow rest to overtake them. Here are two books written specifically as bedtime stories.
Book: Close Your Eyes So You Can See by Michael Card, Illustrated by Stephen Marchesi, Harvest House Publishers, 1996
Genre: Picture Book
Target Audience: Boys and Girls 4+
Subjects: Imagination, Bible Stories
Summary: “Close your eyes so you can see…” starts off all ten stories in this picture book. It then gives a setting and characters for children to imagine. Then it goes into a gentle story about some child interacting with Jesus. They are all fictional stories but based around something from the Gospels. It includes the stories of: Jesus at the temple as a young boy, Jarius’ daughter, the disciples’ argument about who is the greatest, the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus blessing the children, Jesus healing the little boy in John 4, Jesus comparing the people to children singing a dirge, Palm Sunday, Peter’s denial of Jesus and Peter’s miraculous escape from prison in Acts.
Notes: Each story is short – no more than 4 pages. There’s 1 picture per story so you can show children the picture, then let them close their eyes as you tell the story. It encourages them to use their imaginations. It can even be a devotional book with the Scripture reference listed at the beginning and a couple of discussion questions at the end. I highly recommend this book!
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Book: Time For Bed, Sleepyhead by Daniel G. Amen, Illustrated by Gail Yerrill, Zonderkiz, 2016
Genre: Picture Book
Target Audience: Boys and Girls 3-8
Summary: The narrator of this story is a polar bear reading to their cub as it goes to bed. The cub doesn’t want to go to sleep so the mom explains how the brain has to rest to get rid of the trash in it so it will be ready for the next day. She then tells a story about a bunch of animal friends having a day at the beach. At multiple points through their day the characters rest and relax. At the end of their day they are so tired they can’t even keep their eyes open or talk without yawning. This is supposed to make the polar bear cub relax as well.
Notes: This book is all about psychology. The author is a renowned psychiatrist and wrote the book specifically to use scientific techniques to help children relax. It has very cute pictures and can be read in a calm tone of voice to help put children to sleep and it encourages them to use their imagination to picture what might be happening with the characters. However it has absolutely no spiritual element whatsoever. It doesn’t claim to. It is nothing more than a cute scientific technique to make children fall asleep.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 0/5
Psalm 127:2 – In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves.
Thank you to Zondervan for providing me with a free review copy of Time For Bed, Sleepyhead. All opinions are my own.