Sometimes the bedtime routine truly becomes a routine (I mean, despite the magic of it all), so if you're in the market for new books to read to your baby or toddler, maybe you'll like one of these.
A Kiss Means I Love You, by Kathryn Madeline Allen
This is a lovely bedtime book: nothing too clever or sassy about it, which I like. It just shows the different ways kids can express themselves nonverbally, which makes it a great learning tool, and it's got a nice variety of kids and families in it.
Big Red Barn, by Margaret Wise Brown
Another old-fashioned nighttime book. The illustrations are sweet, with cute little details to pick out. My favorite part is the "quiet egg." Obviously there is no other kind of egg, but I just like that choice of phrase.
The Boss Baby, by Marla Frazee
This, on the other hand, is a funny book, and great to give to first-time parents. It has a little part towards the end that will catch you by surprise and maybe make you cry just a tiny bit if you're a new parent running on empty.
Everywhere Babies, by Susan Meyers
Here is another one that makes me choke up a tiny bit. Illustrated by The Boss Baby's artist, Everywhere Babies is a celebration of babies of all shapes, colors, and sizes and all the different types of families who love them (IE, not just a mommy and a daddy.) This also is a great book with kids who like picking out all the fun background details.
No Fits, Nilson!, by Zacharia OHora
My friend Paula sent this to me when I asked about books that teach children patience. I'm not sure so far that this has been effective in that regard but even still, we love the poster-art-style illustrations and the humor of it. If Paul ends up learning not to throw tantrums because of it, that'll be even better.
Little Pea, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Our lovely friend Amy wrote this book and gave us a signed copy ("Pea is for Paul!") after our son was born. The illustrations are absolutely adorable and Paul has started "reading" the book along with us, so it's a slam dunk for us all around.
Good Night, Little Bear, by Richard Scarry
I'm a sucker for sweet dads-and-kids stories and this is my favorite. Probably what I love most about it is the way Scarry writes about the Mama Bear. She doesn't have a big part in the story but you get the sense that he secretly likes her a lot. "Oh she is a tease," he writes.
Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow?, by Susan A. Shea
I think Paul is not quite old enough to understand the theme of this book, which is to teach kids that inanimate objects don't grow but kids do, but there is a "sing-along" quality of the book that he enjoys reading with us. Plus, there is a truck with an apple on it, which thereby combines two of his favorite words, so that's a bonus.
Turtle Island, by Kevin Sherry
This is a really sweet book about friendship, illustrated with beautiful watercolors. Our favorite thing about it is that Paul now refers to all turtles as "Turtle Island." Incidentally up until this moment I was thinking about dressing Paul up as a turtle for Halloween but after Googling costumes I fear everyone will think he's a fan of that horrible-looking TMNT movie that came out earlier this year.
Grumpy Bird, by Jeremy Tankard
The grumpy bird bears an uncanny resemblance to my husband when he has to get up too early in the morning.
The Duckling Gets a Cookie?!, by Mo Willems
All of Mo Willems' books are popular in our house but I choose this one as our favorite because a.) Paul is cuckoo for cookies b.) We are working on teaching him to say "please" c.) I also do not prefer cookies that have nuts in them.