The dog days have come again. Summer’s drawing to a sweltering close, and school bells are about to ring. No more going down with the sun—bedtime’s moving up! If you’re finding it difficult to draw your munchkin’s eyes away from those stubborn rays of summer twilight pushing their way through the blackout curtains, allow me to assist. Below, find a handful of the latest and greatest in children’s bedtime stories. From lost stories from the master of juvenile tall tales, to school-readying stories, to Little Red Riding Hood—served up ninja-style–there’s something here for every taste. And just in case you were on the lookout for a new corrugated vessel to snuggle in during storytime, you can refer to page 32, 40, or 46 of The Cardboard Box Book for instructions. It’s a great way to break in some of those school supplies your kids have been itching to unwrap!
Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories, by Dr. Seuss
Catch up with some of Seuss’s most beloved characters, like Horton, Marco, and the Grinch, in this wonderful new collection, a follow-up to The Bippolo Seed and other Lost Stories. Filled with the same wildly imaginative plots as all previous Seuss classics, this is a must-have on the bedtime story shelf, and will have you and your little ones delirious with laughter all over again.
Adventures with Barefoot Critters, by Teagan White
This delightful alphabet book, which follows the Barefoot Critters from building bridges over frozen waters in January to catching some zzz’s just after midnight on New Year’s Eve is a first from writer and illustrator Teagan White, who lives in the woods, just like her critters! Adorable scenes evoke a golden era of children’s illustrations, and depict the changing of the seasons in the woods, along with all the fun adventures that come with each new day.
Rupert Can Dance, by Jules Feiffer
Jules Feiffer, the genius behind The Phantom Tollbooth illustrations, along with Bark, George, and I’m Not Bobby, has brought us another masterpiece. In Rupert Can Dance, we meet an ambitious cat who loves to dance almost as much as his human, Mandy. All day long Mandy dances. In fact, the only time she stops is when she sleeps! That’s when Rupert slips on her dancing shoes and quietly, giddily makes up his own steps. Rupert loves to dance, but only in secret. Will he stop forever once Mandy finds out and tries to teach this free-spirited feline how to move his paws? Read to find out!
On My Way to School, by Sarah Maizes and Michael Paraskevas
Livi does not want to go to school—she’s been to school a hundred times, and she doesn’t need to learn anything new. Thus begins a raucous romp through Livi’s wild imagination; by 7 a.m. she’s been a chef, a pirate, and an arctic explorer living on old turkey sandwiches as she lumbers through her morning routine. The day at school is filled with even more far-flung daydreams brought to life by captivating illustrations. Luckily for Livi, school lives up to—and even encourages!—her dreams, making this a perfect back-to-school bedtime read.
A Library Book for Bear, by Bonny Becker and Kady MacDonald Denton
In this latest story about cantankerous Bear and his sanguine pal Mouse, we learn that Bear has never been to the library before, and he’s not so sure he needs to go. He has 7 books, after all. However reluctant, Bear is still a good friend, so he straps on his red roller skates and carries his friend to the library. Once there, Mouse persistently scours the stacks for a book that might please his choosy friend, but with little luck. Stubborn Bear won’t even master the Library Voice! Is it possible that a certain book about a Very Brave Bear told by a Very Kindly Librarian will change Bear’s mind? I’m certain you and your little ones will love finding out.
Ninja Red Riding Hood, by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Dan Santat
The creators of The Three Ninja Pigs have brought us yet another story from “Once upon a Ninja-filled time.” In these pages, we discover that clever Wolf has entered Ninja school in order to find a way to overcome his apparent inability to catch any prey. Later on, he meets Little Red Riding Hood in the woods, and disguises himself as Grandma, not knowing that both Red and Gran have Ninja training, too! A rumble ensues, and we find out what Wolf is made of. Perhaps vegetarianism and yoga are a better fit for a wolf searching for a full belly and some peace?
Pete the Cat and the New Guy, by Kimberly and James Dean
This month brings us another rockin’ good time from Pete the Cat and all his friends. Pete has a new friend who’s just moved to the street—a platypus named Gus. Gus looks a lot different from Pete, but, according to the cool cat, “Being different is really very cool.” Pete and his friends try a new activity every day, searching for something that Gus will like. But after failed juggling, jumping, and climbing attempts, it’s clear that Gus is having a hard time having fun in his new neighborhood! Will he find something that he loves to do?
The Cardboard Box Book, by Sarah Powell, Barbi Sido, and Bethany Side
If you’ve ever watched kids on Christmas morning, it’s no secret they love boxes. Therefore, in my opinion, it’s about time someone created a book based on these versatile, transformative receptacles, complete with templates and step-by-steps. Enter Boxy, the star of this kid- (and parent-) friendly book all about box-based crafts. After reading some simple instructions and familiarizing yourself with a basic crafting equipment list, you’ll be ready to take on 17 crowd-pleasing, rainy afternoon–consuming building projects of all shapes and sizes. Enjoy storytime tonight in a cardboard princess castle or plane!