• By Richard Collingridge
  • Best for ages 4 – 8 

With the feel of a Maurice Sendak story, “Lionheart” tackles things that go bump in the night.

When Richard hears a strange, scary noise he runs from the sound. He knows that something is following him, but he can’t seem to get away. He runs all the way to a magical jungle full of animals big and small. Along the way he drops his beloved stuffed animal, Lionheart. When the monster gets close, Richard runs again, right into his fully grown and alive Lionheart. Together, they roar so loudly that all the scary things are scared away.

Collingridge uses a dark palette of colors with a dreamlike touch to create a wonderfully illustrated bedtime story about facing ones fears and the strength you can derive from friends — even if they’re stuffed.

What’s good: It’s always good to find bedtime books that help you face your fears.

What’s bad: The mystery surrounding the monster could add to a younger child’s fears.

“Grumpy Bird”

  • By Jeremy Tankard
  • Best for ages 2 – 5

“Grumpy Bird” is a board book that’s all about finding the fun in every day. Waking up on the wrong side of the bed doesn’t have to dictate what the rest of your day is like.

When Bird wakes up grumpy he’s in no mood to eat, play or even fly. So he starts walking. Before long, Bird meets Sheep, who decides to join him on the walk. Why? Because Sheep thinks walks are nice. This goes on and on — Rabbit, Fox and others join Bird. Pretty soon, walking turns into playing with friends, and Bird realizes he’s not grumpy anymore. That’s the power of friendship.

What’s good: Engaging illustrations that toddlers and young children will love.

What’s bad: Nothing. It’s a fun book for anyone who wakes up grumpy.

“Bedtime Blastoff!”

  • By Luke Reynolds
  • Illustrated by Mike Yamada
  • Best for ages 4 – 8 

Do you have children who constantly try to delay bedtime? Or maybe they just love cars, trucks and other transportation related pretend. Either way, “Bedtime Blastoff!” offers fun for parents and children. In this tale Reynolds uses an economy of words — declaring each scenario as dad and child work their way to bedtime. From train conductor to bulldozer operator to astronaut, each bit of pretend takes a little more energy out of the little boy and moves him one step closer to sleep. Yamada translates his Disney animation skills into colorful digital illustrations with a somewhat retro feel. Bedtime may never be the same for your rambunctious kids.

What’s good: Highly engaging for young, active kids who like to pretend.

What’s bad: The high-energy pretending could lead to difficulties with bedtime.

There’s more!

Find more reviews by McGeath Freeman here.

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