Bedtime Stories

Sweet Dreams, Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen

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This is one of the sequels to the original story, The Pout-Pout Fish. I believe there is quite a selection to the “pout-pout” series, but this particular board book is a perfect bedtime story. It is much shorter than the first book with one phrase on each page. But, that’s not necessarily a bad thing for my wiggle-worm of toddler. He loves short and fast reads like this one.

Pout-Pout goes through the typical bedtime routine your own little one does in real life, so there is a strong relatability to the story theme. He brushes his teeth, scrubs his face, gets his favorite toy/stuffed animal, reads a story, listens to a song, tucks into bed, and off to sleep he goes!

The creatures have that unique and familiar look as the same illustrator worked on this book as well as the original. I will say Pout-Pout’s toy is . . . off-putting. It verges on a little on the creepy, alien style. But! The artwork is still appealing to children, so that’s what matters.

Bedtime Blessings by Marianne Richmond

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Prayers come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, sounds, and feelings. The act of praying can feel daunting sometimes -speaking to the Creator of the universe! My parents and church family taught me that it’s simply having a conversation with your Heavenly Father. He loves you so, so much. He will treasure anything you have to say. Sometimes, words do not come to our lips. In those moments, it’s okay to pray using your heart. I do this probably more often than a “formal” speaking prayer. God knows our heart; He knows what we need and what we are feeling/going through. Emotions can be “big” and overwhelming, not just for children, but adults as well. Books like this one are perfect to use as a guide. It is a perfect story to read over and over again. Children begin to notice and appreciate the miraculous and good things we encounter in life.

The first half of the book goes over the gratefulness part of prayer. The narrator of the story eloquently uses rhyme to list all the things, people, sights, experiences, etc. we enjoy every single day. The second half is about blessings and asking for God’s help, even in the little details of the day.

I love any and every book by Marianne Richmond. I’ve done a couple of reviews for other books of hers, but I just keep coming back! Definitely one of our favorite authors here in the Merry house. *Side story - the very first book review I did for Instagram, Goodreads, Facebook, etc. all those good social medias was You Are My Merry by Marianne Richmond. I felt like that picture book was a good start for this new endeavor of mine in honor of my family’s last name and my favorite holiday (it’s a Christmas-themed book). After posting it, Marianne Richmond herself commented! I replied back, and she answered again!! Oh my goodness! Talk about an (almost) thirty-year old married mama acting like a school girl/fan girl. I told EVERYONE about that thrilling conversation, probably even days after it happened.

If you know me, then my “squirreling” away from the main point comes as no surprise to you. That’s just Janey being Janey! Please tell me about other faith-based books you enjoy! It doesn’t have to be Christian; I’d love to hear about awesome Jewish picture books! Or Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, whatever faith you follow! Tell me about books you use with your children to help them understand your religion’s traditions and practices. Living in the “Bible Belt” and growing up as a Jesus-follower, I have a heavy background in Christianity. Exposure to other religions would be thrilling! And learning via picture books, well . . . what would be more fun?

Bedtime for Batman by Michael Dahl


This particular board book caught my eye immediately at Barnes and Noble. Our little family loves anything to do with superheroes, so I knew this would become a fast favorite. I pictured my husband reading it to our son, but I actually took the first opportunity to read “Bedtime with Batman” with Luke. Growing up with three older brothers made me a bit of a tomboy, BUT I know both girls and boys alike will enjoy this bedtime storybook!

Shout out to the illustrator, Ethan Beavers, who modeled the pages in the comic book paneling style. He also used the classic 90s “Batman: The Animated TV Series” design. It made the characters recognizable and inspired feelings of nostalgia.

Overall, it has very cleaver story structure. Understatement: sometimes, children don’t want to go to bed. So, the little boy pretends he is Batman and makes his bedtime routine a fun, imagination-fueled adventure! The last page even has a check-off list your own little superhero could use as he/she completes bedtime duties.

I definitely want to see if there are other books in the series! How fun would it be to have a collection of heroic characters doing everyday activities to inspire your up-and-coming champion?

Who is your favorite superhero or heroine? My husband always roots for the “regular” guy who becomes the protagonist (or even better, antihero) via his own intelligence or honed skill set. Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark did not have magical powers bestowed upon them nor a freak accident hurtle them onto “the hero’s journey”. He might have a point, but I do love the ultimate boy-scout characters like Superman and Captain America. Maybe there are too many heroes to choose from, so how about universes? Marvel, DC, Darkhorse, Image, Shonen Jump? Please share back with me!

Little Owl's Night by Divya Srinivasan


One of my new favorites! Animal lovers of all ages will enjoy this book; there are so many cute creatures featured in this story. The author spotlights forest animals not commonly used such as possums, hedgehogs, badgers, & moths. Animal variety is not the only strength! The reader follows the main character, Little Owl, whose world and normal life occurs at nighttime. We catch a glimpse of a familiar story pattern when Little Owl ends his activities & falls asleep, but now it’s morning! It encourages children to think about new and different points-of-view. I appreciate she writes in a way so as to not underestimate the readers & their ability to learn. There are a few “advanced” concepts in the story for early readers such as moth wings covered in dust and a skunk’s typical diet. But we read to learn, so *Go Authors! Push the Limits!*

Are you a “night owl” when it comes to your typical schedule? Maybe an “early bird” fits your personality/energy level better. Me? Oh, I’m definitely in the “permanently exhausted pigeon” category. 

On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman


This is not just another “you are special” kid’s book. Not to say I don’t love those kind of books! We ALL need encouraging and uplifting words. This story, though, is quite popular for many good reasons. I feel the author truly understands a child’s mind and perspective. Nancy has a talent for describing with such whimsy, the reader will certainly get swept up in the scene. There are several points of fun engagement within the story, and I think the best part of this book comes from the author giving voice to how we parents’ feel. “Precious baby, you are so unique and amazing. We have been astonished by your presence from the moment you came into this world.”

What do you recall from the your child’s birth day? My mother would tell me about the movie they watched before heading to the hospital & the meal she was served after delivering. (Best tasting cheeseburger she’s ever had!) I remember, after being in labor 45 hours, the football game going on in the background & drinking glass after glass of water -I was so thirsty!!