Archive for ‘Bedtime’

November 9, 2012

The Insomniacs

Title: The Insomniacs

Author: Karina Wolf
Illustrator: The Brothers Hilts

Publisher: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2012
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 4-8
Themes: Sleep, Bedtime, Night

Opening Lines:

“The Insomniacs weren’t always a night family.

But when Mrs. Insomniac found a new job, Mother, Father, and little Mika traveled twelve time zones to their new home.”

Synopsis (from Penguin website):

The wonder of nighttime comes to life in this breathtaking debut.

When the Insomniacs move twelve time zones away for Mrs. Insomniac’s new job, the family has an impossible time adapting to the change. They try everything to fall asleep at night–take hot baths, count to one thousand, sip mugs of milk–but nothing helps. Venturing out into the dark, they learn there is a whole world still awake and a beauty in their new and unconventional schedule.

Ideal for bedtime reading, this gorgeous and lyrical story celebrates nighttime’s mystery and magic.

Activities:

Time Zones

  • Simple way to teach at home is with a globe and flashlight, click here for steps.
  • Online learning videos which explain the reason for 24 time zones and a discussion about the four time zones in the US.
  • National Geographic has a time zone exercise suitable for upper elementary grades.

Nocturnal animals

  • Pinterest board which has links to books and crafts related to nocturnal animals.
  • Article by National Geographic Explorer on nocturnal animals with photos.
  • Lesson plan for ages 0-5 from the Library of Michigan – contains books, songs, links to activity sheets, crafts
  • Lesson plans for elementary classrooms – version of tag, create constellations with marshmallows, and more.

Go for a walk with your child, a nighttime outing, ask the child what he or she sees and hears.

Why I Like This Book:

An original, fresh twist on the traditional can’t fall asleep bedtime story.

I love that the family has to move because of Mrs. Insomniacs job (yeah mom!). But adjusting twelve hours is hard and the family struggles to find a way to fall asleep at night, hot baths, counting to a thousand, six mugs, of milk, even meditation — but nothing works. The family decides to go ask their animal neighbors. With flashlight in hand they walk through the forest and notice that darkness is full of life and decide to try living at night instead. This unusual schedule works for them as they get to enjoy the moon, stars, and trips to the flower market and bakery.

The illustrations are gorgeous and quirky, and have an Oliver Jeffer’s kind of feel. The color palette is muted yellows/browns for the day scenes and blues/grays for the night scenes, with hints of color for items such as the scarf, book, or flowers. Check out the trailer below.

Read the book and discover the beauty of the night, but don’t forget your flashlight!

This review is part of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book series. Visit her site to see the other books recommended.

This book was nominated by ReadyAnnie for the 2012 Cybils Awards in the Fiction Picture Book category. I am a second-round judge in this category, but this review reflects my opinions only, not those of any other panelist, or the panel as a whole. Thanks!

July 24, 2012

Yawning Yoga

Title: Yawning Yoga

Author: Laurie Jordan
Illustrator: Aaron Randy
Publisher: 4th Street Media, 2011
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 3-6
Themes: Yoga, Bedtime

Opening Lines:
“The day is done and it’s time for bed,
but your body’s still moving
and there are thoughts in you head.
So give thanks to your body
for all that it’s done;
from the moment you woke,
’til the day’s setting sun.”

Synopsis (from Yawning Yoga website):

Yawning Yoga is kid-tested (and parent approved!). It is truly and uniquely a book designed specifically to help kids sleep. The books’ careful sequencing makes it the perfect sleepy time book and helps a child establish a bedtime routine that is proven to work.

Incorporating Yawning Yoga into your child’s bedtime routine, provides the perfect sleep solution for your child by helping shift her minds’ focus from being preoccupied with daily stressors to focusing her attention to yoga postures, relaxation techniques and breath work, with the ultimate goal being a restful sleep.

But perhaps what’s most wonderful about Yawning Yoga is that it offers parents the opportunity to positively interact and bond with their children before bedtime, Not only will it help relax kids and increase the quality of their sleep, but will afford parents the same benefits.

Please check out www.yawningyoga.com for more info and to see some of the press and praise Yawning Yoga has received from leading experts in the sleep and yoga fields.

Why I Like This Book:

This is a unique book which provides kids with a sequence of yoga exercises to wind down at night. The first half of the book involves easy yoga positions to help get rid of that extra bit of energy; while the second half of the book shows relaxation exercises to calm the mind.  Perfect combination to calm boisterous little tikes.

Each exercise has its own rhyming stanza and an accompanying illustration.This book is full of kid appeal with both silly exercise names like Jiggle and Wiggle or the Twister, and the accompanying artwork, that starts with vibrant colors transitioning to a soft, soothing palette. The author has also included an index at the end containing a detailed explanation of the benefits, instructions, and photograph for each of the exercises in the story. Laurie Jordan, the author, is a New York-based yoga instructor. She is the creator of Little Sprouts Yoga for Kids and the Director of Kids Programming at Kaia Yoga.

I have read this book several times with my girls and they enjoy the exercises. I love the interactive aspect of this book, it’s a great way to connect with the kids and a lot of fun. I am still working on getting my girls to relax their minds. Funny how kids have ask ten million questions, right as you are trying to turn off the light, or maybe that is just my kids.

Click here to see the book  trailer on the Yawning Yoga website.

Disclosure: I received my copy of Yawning Yoga from the author. This review nevertheless reflects my own and honest opinion about the book.

August 3, 2011

Can’t Sleep Without Sheep

“Can we please stop?” asked the sheep. “We’re exhausted.”

“No! I need you to keep jumping!” said Ava.

“In that case,” said the sheep, “we quit.”

Ava is young girl who has trouble falling asleep at night, tossing and turning, since her mind is so busy. Her mother encourages to count sheep. Initially this goes okay, but after a few days the sheep are worn out and want to quit. They assure Ava they will find suitable replacements. A slew of animals such as chickens, pigs, and even penguins, try out for the position; but for various reasons it doesn’t work out. Through the process the sheep learn how special and irreplaceable they really are.

I love, love, love the middle section of the book where the different animals are trying out. It was laugh-out-loud hilarious, and I normally do not laugh out loud. I can’t wait to read it to my girls. The strong points of this book are the concept and colorful, warm-colored illustrations.

Author: Susanna Leonard Hill
Illustrator: Mike Wohnoutka

Can't Sleep Without Sheep

March 29, 2011

Harry and Horsie

There was no time to lose! Harry put on his helmet and grabbed his goggles.

Then he jumped aboard his rocket ship … and took off to find his friend.

Harry and his friend Horsie are best friends and inseparable. Until one night when the Super Duper Bubble Blooper gets a little out of control and a super duper bubble carries his best friend up, up, and away. Harry does not fret, he gets on his rocket ship and blasts off on a rescue mission.

This is an imaginative story that any young child will enjoy. The retro-comic style works well and may bring some nostalgia for the parents. It is a fun read aloud book … who wouldn’t smile while saying “Bloop Bloop Bloop”. So grab this book and blast off on an adventure !

Author: Katie Van Camp
Illustrator: Lincoln Agnew

Harry and Horsie

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