baby proof: bedtime stories lately.

April 3, 2017

bedtime stories, lately | reading my tea leavesWe’re in a bit of a throwback stage with our picture books at the moment. Faye’s been delighting in the vintage selections on the shelf in her room, with special preference given to the very longest books she can find. Silas adores anything where he gets to snuggle in between us all and make googly eyes at his big sister. In case you’re looking for good stories to read, here’s what bedtime selections in our house have looked like lately.

(As always, we buy almost all of our books in local shops—Greenlight Bookstore, Community Bookstore, and Stories Bookshop are favorites. I’ve provided links to where you can find these titles online or in your own neighborhood bookstores.*)

Miss Rumphius (Indiebound): One of my very favorites from my own childhood, I introduced this to Faye 100% so I could gawk at the illustrations of Maine islands covered in lupines. Happily, she’s as entranced as I am. (This is of no consequence to Faye for the moment, but a sweet sentimental note is that author and illustrator Barbara Cooney, who I was lucky enough to meet as a child, was born just a few blocks away from where we live in Brooklyn. Heroines abound.)

One Morning in Maine (Indiebound): Sal of blueberry fame grows up and gets a little sister and a loose tooth. I adore this book, which follows curious Sal on adventures with her dad and sister, Jane. Wishes on teeth and feathers and spark plugs ensue and finish with chocolate ice cream and clam chowder for lunch.

Triangle (Indiebound): Faye can’t ever get enough of Jon Klassen’s side-eye giving characters and this newest collaboration with Mac Barnett doesn’t disappoint. (Entirely unrelated: the end pages are the very perfect shade of aqua.)

An Alphabet in Bloom (Indiebound): Kiddos (and their parents) have lots of opportunities to hunt for alliterative words in this creative take on an alphabet book. Richly colored illustrations center around a garden theme (and there’s a merciful cheatsheet in the back in case you don’t catch all of the words hidden in the pages).

Where the Wild Things Are (Indiebound): This book needs no introduction. The first five times that we read this book (all in one night, mind you), I could tell the monsters made Faye a little nervous. But she recently whizzed by me on a borrowed scooter proclaiming, “I’m going to where the Wild Things are! Gonna find the lion!” I think it’s safe to say she’s conquered her fears.

The Friend Ship (Indiebound: Lonely little hedgehog gets a whole crew of friends as she sets out to find the elusive friend ship. Good inspiration to be more like hedgehog and lots of beautiful illustrations to delight in along the way.

The Littlest Family’s Big Day: (Indiebound): This book feels like Little Fur Family (another perennial favorite) for the 21st century. The illustrations and words by Emily Winfield Martin are characteristically sweet and the fold-out page in the back wins every time. 

What about you guys? Any favorites in your rotation lately?

*I received review copies of Triangle and An Alphabet in Bloom; all opinions and enthusiasm very much my own.

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  • Reply laura_s April 3, 2017 at 10:13 am

    Me thinks Faye needs to borrow a bucket and hang out in our low bush berries this summer! 😉 Perhaps Ma does too….

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE April 3, 2017 at 10:46 am


  • Reply Kelly Brown April 3, 2017 at 10:30 am

    Miss Rumphius was my daughter’s favorite!! I have to admit that I did not discourage multiple reads of this one. Have you read Roxaboxen? It’s another Barbara Cooney book that has well worn pages from many bedtime/daytime readings!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE April 3, 2017 at 10:46 am

      Yes!!! Another favorite!

  • Reply Liz Parsons April 3, 2017 at 11:37 am

    Miss Rumphius is one of my favorites too! My daughter has my childhood copy now.

  • Reply Shannon April 3, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    Lots of love for Miss Rumphius in our house too, and the message seems an especially good one in these times…
    Given the love for One Morning in Maine, maybe Time of Wonder will prove popular. We read it over and over again, and that last page gets me every time. (Plus, it’s long!)
    Also in heavy rotation: Doctor De Soto, a great flap book called The Open Ocean, Jumanji, Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse, and Anatole.

  • Reply Hannah April 3, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    I loved Miss Rumphius, Roxaboxen and One Morning in Maine as a young’un — they were my favorites that my grandma had at her house, and still bring back the warmest memories 🙂 Maybe it’s no coincidence that we all read those books, and now read your blog, what with its beautiful photos and posts of mornings in Maine…!

  • Reply Rebecca April 3, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    I still love Can’t You Sleep Little Bear?. It’s very sweet and the illustrations are beautiful and adorable. Everything by Tomi Ungerer and Maurice Sendak (I always loved “In the Night Kitchen… so fun!”). Also, The Mysterious Tadpole 🙂

    • Reply Sophie April 3, 2017 at 3:58 pm

      Every time I look at the Walker books logo I remember this one! It was one of my favorites as a child. My 5mo son loves Guess How Much I Love You as his bedtime book.

  • Reply Kimberly April 3, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    My daughter, Alice, is named after Miss Rumphius. <3

  • Reply Caroline April 3, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    Not vintage at all, but Baker loves Dragons Love Tacos.

  • Reply Carol Porco April 3, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    I love gettibng my granddaughter any book by Lizzy Rockwell, she is a childrens book illustrator and is just wonderful! She has books on gardening, birds, nature just fabulous.

  • Reply Sally April 3, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    Thank you for the suggestions! I’ve just finished requesting all of these at our local library (they are all new to me!). For awhile I kept a list going on our library site to keep track and remember:

    Our daughter is 4.5 now so she’s been really into short readers these days. Mr. Putter and Tabby books are a current fave around here (the audio versions are particularly lovely-I set them up for her to listen to on a little CD boom

    • Reply Emily April 4, 2017 at 8:18 pm

      Those Mr Lutter and Tabby books are great, and good idea with the audiobooks! I’ve been introducing them to my three-year-old but mostly longer books in car rides (Mary Poppins!). I should try paired with picture books, too!

  • Reply Rebecca | Seven2Seven8 April 3, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    A favorite from my childhood that is just about perfect for Faye (mine are still a bit too little) are the Anno books: counting, alphabet. Can’t recommend enough.

  • Reply Elizabeth April 3, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    OH my goodness! I love Miss Rumphius! Since you met Barbara Cooney I am hoping you’ve also read Roxaboxen, which is one of my very absolute favorites! Thanks for sharing these others–I’ll have to check them out.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE April 3, 2017 at 2:33 pm

      Yes, another favorite! My childhood copy is still at my parents’ house, but we don’t have one here yet!

  • Reply LBintheBK April 3, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    Wondering, is An Alphabet in Bloom available yet? The amazon listing says it’s not yet published. Looks wonderful so hoping to get it as a gift for my nephews – thanks!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE April 3, 2017 at 2:31 pm

      We got an advance copy! Coming out in May!

  • Reply Jodi April 3, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    Are you familiar with these three: Iggy Peck, Architect; Rosie Revere, Engineer; and Ada Twist, Scientist? I think they’re fantastic both for the language and the theme(s).

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE April 7, 2017 at 10:17 am

      Yes! We’ve given them to our niece who is a little older than Faye! Can’t wait to add to our collection, too!

  • Reply Lauren April 3, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    All of Barbara Cooney’s books! One of my very favorite childhood books is Ultra-violet catastrophe! Or, The unexpected walk with Great-Uncle Magnus Pringle. It stars an adventurous girl who I still consider a role model of sorts.

  • Reply Lindsey April 3, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    I love Emily Winfield Martin’s books. Have you read any of her others? I hadn’t heard of this one.

  • Reply Juliana Taylor April 3, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    Looking forward to reading aloud “This Is A Poem That Heals Fish”
    “Jamberry” is a favorite
    All Elsa Beskow books
    “ABC Dream” by Kim Krans

  • Reply Caroline April 3, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    Emily Winfield Martin who wrote Littlest Family’s Big Day has another beautiful book I love: Dream Animals. Another favorite is Miss Jaster’s Garden which is about a hedgehog who accidentally runs away with part of a flower bed.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE April 7, 2017 at 10:16 am

      So, so great! I had COMPLETELY forgotten about this book! My mom brought her copy to Faye this week!

  • Reply Marianne April 3, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    One Morning in Maine is such a great one and was on our boys’ bookshelf for year amd we just read Where the Wild Things Are last night!

  • Reply Jemima April 4, 2017 at 3:44 am

    Another beautiful book is ‘The Paper Bag Princess’ by Robert Munsch – lots of spunk and a fantastic ‘go girl’ ending.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE April 4, 2017 at 9:47 am

      Yes! Included that one on my last post on the subject!

    • Reply Joanna April 6, 2017 at 4:47 pm

      You might also like “A Gold Star for Zog” – similar and fun, too.

  • Reply Haylie April 4, 2017 at 8:38 am

    I love this! Every year for the past few holidays my husband has given me a children’s book. We’re not having kids (I love other people’s kids!), but kid’s books are such beautiful, funny, wry, sad, lovely things, and so at some point I decided to collect them, anyway. Thanks for this list. Have you seen the list that BrainPickings puts out every year? It’s amazing.

  • Reply Emily April 4, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    When Isaiah was born, I looked around for books about big sisters and little brothers for Juniper. “The Maggie B” is so, so sweet, and all about the relationship between the siblings. I catch Juniper singing the songs from it sometimes, too!

    “Two Blankets” is a sweet and timely one we recently bought, too.

    • Reply Nicole April 5, 2017 at 9:31 am

      Oh, we LOVE the Maggie B–one of the gentlest, sweetest books!

  • Reply Joanna April 6, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    No awesome illustrations (in fact, it’s all photographs that aren’t particularly great), but my 2 year old is really into “Shades of People” right now. It’s a book that addresses racial diversity in a really matter of fact way for toddlers… simply that people come in all different shades, and that’s great, and you can’t tell what people are like from the color of their skin. I’m happy she’s embraced it as a favorite!

  • Reply Stacie May 2, 2017 at 10:04 am

    My daughter’s name is Ruby and someone in our family found the book, “Helly, My Name is Ruby,” and it’s one of the sweetest books I’ve ever read! Also another favorite, “You Belong Here.” It’s simply about your baby belonging right where she is, and all the animals around the world belonging right where they are.

  • Reply jaime July 22, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    Another Emily Winfield Martin favorite in our house is THE WONDERFUL THINGS YOU WILL BE. We have taped the pages, it’s been loved so hard over the past 20 months.

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