Sometimes when you're a busy parent, all you have is a few minutes at the beginning and end of the day to spend quality time with your little ones and to create lasting memories. Bedtime is one of the best times to connect. After getting ready for bed and talking about the events of the day, cuddle up with your kiddos and read them a bedtime story. If you don't already have an arsenal of silly literature, try my girls' top 5 favorites:
Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot
It's not often you find a children's book written by an author with a Nobel Prize in Literature. Specifically one that is the story behind an award-winning musical with a 30-year run! Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot is the basis of the musical Cats and a set of whimsical poems about our furry friends of the same name. Speaking of names, with names like MungoJerrie and RumpleTeazer, Eliot's cats are fun to read about at bedtime together.
Macavity's a Mystery Cat: he's called the Hidden Paw—
For he's the master criminal who can defy the Law.
He's the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad's despair:
For when they reach the scene of crime—Macavity's not there!
The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak.
B.J. Novak is an actor, but also one of the writers and directors on the television show The Office. He used his writing talents to create a bestselling children's picture book with no pictures. His genius use of words, fonts, visual cues, and silliness makes reading this book out loud super fun for adults and hilarious for kids to listen to. It uses enough nonsense words spelled phonetically that your kiddos can try to read along by sounding out the words and not feel self-conscious because the whole thing is meant to sound silly anyway. Besides, any children’s book that comes with a warning about how silly it is will probably land itself on our family's top 10 list. We love to be silly, and this book does not disappoint.
Glug glug glug, my face is a bug . . . I eat ants for breakfast right off the ruuuuuuuuuug!
Watch B.J. Novak read his book out loud.
Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
I heart this book so much, and I was so relieved when Evyn said she did too. Unlike most prince-meets-princess stories, princess Elizabeth turns out to be pretty badass. She meets Prince Ronald and falls in love with him . . . hearts floating around her head and everything. But then a dragon comes along, and destroys her castle, burns up all of her expensive stuff, and takes off with her prince. So what does she do? She throws on a paper bag and marches off to take back what's hers. She tricks the dragon and saves her man. Spoiler alert: in the end, she realizes Prince Ronald is a superficial jerk and ditches him. Girl power!
Elizabeth, you are a mess! You smell like ashes, your hair is all tangled and you are wearing a dirty old paper bag. Come back when you’re dressed like a real princess."
“Ronald,” she says, “your clothes are really pretty and your hair is very neat. You look like a real prince, but you are a bum.”
"They didn't get married after all.
Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
Robert Munsch also wrote this sweet story about a mother rocking her son to sleep every night as a child, then a teenager, and finally as a grown man while singing a special song. The repetition in this book make it memorable for the kiddos, and sentimental to parents. Eventually, the mother gets older and is sick, suggesting that she is at the end of her life. Her son comes to visit her and sings an altered version of her song to her for the last time. When he gets home, he goes to his new baby daughter's room and rocks her to sleep singing his mother's song. If you're getting teary eyed now, just wait until you try to sing the song to your own kids! Sheesh . . . bring on the waterworks.
I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living,
My baby you'll be.
Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi
Of course, our number one choice for bedtime stories is literally potty humor. Everyone Poops is exactly what it sounds like—a potty training book written for toddlers. Try reading this out loud to your kiddos without giggling. It's impossible. Each line is accompanied by an equally hilarious illustration.
A one-hump camel makes a one-hump poop.
A two-hump camel makes a two-hump poop. Only Kidding!
And so do birds.
And bugs too.
Different animals make different kinds of poop.
It's a fact that reading to your kiddos starting at an early age encourages literacy and language development. So while you're doing good for your kids, pick out some special books that are silly to read, and have a little fun with them too! It could be the start of the everyday traditions your kiddos will remember as their happy childhood.