Thursday, December 6, 2018

10 Children's Bedtime Stories That Won't Push You Over the Edge

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Few things make me want to cry more than when I'm exhausted at the end of a long day, the kids are running around screaming instead of brushing their teeth and going to sleep, and then somebody hands me a bedtime story as long as the Oxford English Dictionary.

Now, don't get me wrong. I like reading with my kids and will happily do it during the day.

But by the kids' bedtime, I'm DONE. It's late and this is taking forever and I know that there are still, in the words of the poet Robert Frost, miles to go before I sleep.

For the sake of my sanity, I need a children's bedtime story that is short, funny, and every bit as enjoyable for me as it is for the kids. Here are my top 10 favorite children's books, the ones so good I don't even skip words when I think I can get away with it:


What! Cried Granny, Kate Lum


I dare say this is my favorite children's book of all-time. In a ridiculously exaggerated twist on the classic stalling-before-bed routine of all kids everywhere, Patrick's spunky granny turns out to be able to do literally anything. The kids love it when I yell "whaaaaat?!?" in a funny voice as I read granny, and the pictures are great, too. I never get tired of reading this book, and I've read this one a lot


Some Dogs Do, Jez Alborough


Normally, I'm not a fan of rhyming kids' books. Most of them feel too contrived to me. But I love this book. The plot is sweet, and at the end when Sid finds out the secret I genuinely feel happy almost every time. Believing in yourself is the theme of this book, and I love that Sid's family are the ones who really have his back at the end of the day.


The Monster At the End of This Book


Shout out to your childhood! This book is every bit as good as you remember it from when you were little. The idea is simple: tell the kids that whatever they do, they should not turn the next page of this book, and maniacal giggling (and page-turning) will ensue. Listening to them in hysterics is honestly my favorite part of reading this book.


The New Potty, Gina and Mercer Mayer


I will gladly read anything in the Little Critter series, but I have a particular soft spot for The New Potty. Maybe it's just because that's the Mercer Mayer book we've owned longest, but I think it's the funniest one. Or maybe I can relate to the humor after potty training so many kids. Either way, this book is great.


The Composer Is Dead, Lemony Snicket


Until I stumbled across it in the library, I had no idea Lemony Snicket also wrote picture books. They are even more hilarious than A Series of Unfortunate Events. This farcical interrogation of all the instruments in the orchestra to solve the composer's murder will have you earnestly laughing, especially if you consider yourself a music buff. Bonus: it's even funnier on CD, which comes included in the book.


The Book with No Pictures, B.J. Novak


It's hard to tell whether I get more of a kick out of: this book's text or the kids' reactions. True to its title, this book has absolutely no pictures, but my 2-year-old and 4-year-old will sit through the entire thing and ask for it again (I'll say yes if it's not at bedtime.) You might remember B.J. Novak's name because he both wrote for and starred in The Office, so he's obviously hilarious.


Dragons Love Tacos, Adam Rubin


If you're looking for a cautionary tale with a moral you should probably look elsewhere, because this book is just plain fun. There's a lot for little eyes to look at in the cartoon illustrations, and the story is serious about a very silly subject: never feed dragons spicy salsa on their tacos. The author had me at "taco party."


Good for Nothing Button, by Charise Mericle Harper and Mo Willems


Your first-grader could read this out loud to you if you wanted, but unlike most easy readers that are so repetitive they make me want to remove my eyes with a melon-baller, I truly enjoy this one. You will see every one of your small child's infuriating, illogical, and lovable behaviors in these Mo Willems characters as they all clamor to push a button that does absolutely nothing.


Dog on a Frog, Kes and Claire Gray


Okay, I know what I said about rhyming books, but here is another exception to the rule. Dog on a Frog is almost Dr. Suess-like in how it plays with language (but it isn't as long as a Dr. Seuss book, making it a perfect bedtime read.) Not only will your kids love the goofy humor about nonsensical rules that have to rhyme, but so will you.


Where the Sidewalk Ends, Shel Silverstein


Sometimes instead of a full-length bedtime story, I'll ask the kids to choose 3 poems from this collection. (Even though it's quicker to read, the kids still feel like they got away with something.) The poems are for children and about children, each one more brilliant and funny than the last. Even the younger kids who don't "get" each poem still enjoy looking at the sketches on every page. We love Where the Sidewalk Ends and also the second book of poems A Light in the Attic.

Bedtime is the hardest part of the day for me and every other parent I know, but trust me, it's at least a little easier when your kid's bedtime story doesn't make you want to scream and jump out of the second-story window. The kids are probably doing a good enough job of that on their own.

Some children’s books make awful bedtime stories: they’re too long! Enjoy this list of 10 short bedtime stories for kids of any age that are also laugh out loud funny. I promise you’ll enjoy these picture books every bit as much as your kids do. #bedtimestories #funny #picturebooks #kidsbooks #bedtime #kids #unremarkablefiles

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2 comments:

  1. I am a prolific reader as is my mother, sister, brother and was my father. As a parent my dirty little secret was that I really just hated reading to my kids (hear me out, I am not a monster). I have always hated being read to including the shortest of written documents (just hand it over and let me read it myself!) and don't care for audio-books. My husband, who has read precisely ONE novel in 30 years, on the other hand, LOVED reading to the kids (give him any type of instructional manual regardless of how long or boring, and he was also enrapt). He loved doing "voices" and "sounds" and would actually take a bedtime story and DELIBERATELY make the story go on as long as he could. Who does THAT???? We were lucky, all of us, that he loved to do this oh-so-important activity. And, although studies indicate that boys whose fathers read to them are particularly benefited (we had two boys), I would say that the greatest benefit was to me! - Kathy

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  2. It's comforting to know I'm not the only one who skips words in books! R is getting to the stage where she knows the words to her favorites, and she will call me out on it! I'm like, wait I'm not reading for this. haha! Thanks for these! I will be checking these out. I agree that bedtime can be so frustrating. I feel like I am marginally patient most of the time, but bedtime just really gets me riled up when it takes 85 years.

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