Children’s Book Review: Sophie’s Big Bed.
May 11, 2010

In our home, I have a few books that I reserve for bedtime only.  The books in that pile are simple and usually have very basic themes like parental love.  Books that have bright colors, long stories, lessons, sounds, and the like are all reserved for daytime reading.  But books that focus on sleeping?  Are perfect for reading at bedtime.

We have about a dozen books reserved for bedtime only and my favorite of the lot is a board book called Sophie’s Big Bed, written and illustrated by Tina Burke.

Sophie’s Big Bed tells the tale of a little girl who is hesitant to make the transition from sleeping in a crib to sleeping in her own big bed.  Every time she plans to sleep in her big bed, her blanket or a toy voices a fear, and they wind up sleeping in the crib.  At the end of the story, she overcomes her fear and confidently sleeps in the big bed alongside her blanket and toys.

Donald and I do not own a crib or a big bed for Charlotte, but Sophie’s Big Bed is still a perfect bedtime book for our family.  For starters, the illustrations are adorable beyond belief and the colors are warm and comforting.  Sophie has the cutest toddler belly and little footie pajamas.  Details like that get me every time.

As well, although the text is repetitive and the book is short, it mentions sleep several times (I love books that show children sleeping; I am fully supportive of peer pressure that encourages my daughter to sleep at night) and it is a great way to address the transition any child will eventually undergo when moved into a big bed.  Honestly, why limit it to just that single transition?  The book is about facing your fears and having the confidence to move beyond them.

I don’t know about you, but that’s a lesson that I hope my daughter learns better than I ever did.

Pros: Besides lovely illustrations, simple text, beautiful colors, and a general focus on both sleep and confidence?  I also love the repetition.  I know that some people do not like repetition and I will be the first to admit that repetitive books can be mind-numbingly dull, but small children seem to appreciate the rhythm.

Cons: No matter how cute this book is, I guarantee that children will like it more than adults.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow.  The story is sweet, and I really do love it, but not every child struggles with change and not every child will appreciate a story about sleeping.

Reading tip: Literacy does not ONLY relate to books, which is good because most of us cannot afford to buy an entire home library.  Pediatric reading advocacy organizations like The Reading Tub and Reach Out and Read consistently emphasize the importance of reading any and all print materials because it’s just the act of reading that matters.  So read out loud.  Read the billboards, read the milk labels at the grocery, read the return addresses on your mail.  You might be surprised at what your kid picks up on!

What to do: You can enter this giveaway by leaving a comment below or sending me an e-mail telling me what your bedtime routine is (even if you don’t have kids yet or if your kids have grown and gone).  All you need is an e-mail address.  The giveaway ends Thursday evening at 9 P.M. Pacific Time and the winner will be announced Friday morning.  You can leave one entry every day, for a total of up to three entries.

To purchase this book: You can buy Sophie’s Big Bed through Amazon.com (that link uses my affiliate code) or locate a local retailer through Indie Bound.org.


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  1. By on May 11, 2010

    I love bedtime. I am a big stickler for bedtime routines… It seems to be comforting for my daughter to have a normal pattern. In fact, I love the rhythym of our nighttime routine. Nia gets dinner a little earlier than we do, then she has a short play time. When she starts to slow down around 7, we read a book or two, and oooh and aahhhh over the pictures. Then it’s bath time. Nias favorite part. We take her to the bedroom, and get her undressed for the bath while she giggles and tries to escape to crawl to the tub. After bathtime, she gets her last bottle of the night. If she doesn’t fall asleep during the bottle, then she lays in our laps and cuddles until she does… Best part of the night :)

  2. By on May 11, 2010

    Our bedtime revolves around our furbaby, and every night when she deems it is time for bed she goes to sit in front of the doorway to the hall (whatever room we are in) so we let her out and stuff her a kong and head upstairs. Then she resists going into her crate (as if bedtime wasn’t her idea) but eventually runs in and snuggles up and has a little snack.

    Unfortunately every morning at 6 she seems to think she gets to decide wake-up time, too. We are working on this.

  3. By Mailis on May 11, 2010

    Our bedtime routine goes a little like this:

    Feed baby, let baby roll around/crawl/play on floor. When he yawns, I wrap him in his fuzzy blue blanket and feed him again. Lots of snuggles and kisses and soft words, and then he goes into his crib while still slightly awake. He rolls onto his side, nuzzles his snuggly and he’s out.  :)

    I read to him in the morning, because books excite him too much before bed. Every time I have tried, I have ended up with a wide awake little man until past midnight. 8-/

    Oh, and I vote for you every day.

  4. By Megan R. on May 11, 2010

    Too funny…Finnley usually doesn’t do well with books at bedtime, either.  They just seem to put her in the mood to play to just eat the book. 

    So, our bedtime routine…

    Change Peanut into her PJs (after bath time if it is a bath night).  Put her into her sleep sack.  Brush her teeth.  Get the last bottle of the night.  Cuddle into the rocking chair and rock while getting the last bottle, all under a dimmed bedroom light. As soon as the bottle is empty or Peanut is all done…she is READY for her crib.  She rolls to her belly, sticks her butt up in the air, puts her thumb in her mouth…then night night.

    Well…that is a good night.  Other nights she plays in her crib until she wears herself out and goes to sleep.

  5. By Jenn of the Roof on May 11, 2010

    We messed up on the whole routine thing with my first one, who is now nearly 4 and JUST getting into a decent routine.  But with the baby, I’ve got it down pat.  Jammies at 6:30, snuggles and play for another 45 minutes, and then nursing and more snuggles around 7:30.  I haven’t started reading to him yet, but when my husband is gone and I have to do bedtime for both boys, he gets to enjoy the story too.  I look forward to when he’s a little bit older and bedtime can be one big group affair, with the boys in the same bedroom….already my 3 year old is asking when they can get bunk beds!

  6. By Cambria on May 11, 2010

    Bedtime has always been a challenge in our household, especially since we are dealing with the transition this book speaks of. But generallynafter dinner Hadley takes a bath, puts on jammies, plays a bit. Then we give her a cup of milk and one of us snuggled with her with a book or two. Then we snuggle up with her in the big girl bed until she falls off to sleep. While we’d like her to sleep alone, we ultimately end up co-sleeping with her. But, we are about to move across the country, so we haven’t been stern about her sleeping arrangement because a big change is upon us.

  7. By Kimberly O'Rosky on May 11, 2010

    What a cute book - love the illustrations! Our bedtime routine has definitely changed in the last few months. We use to stay up late reading in bed, but now that I’m 28 weeks along I’m so tired by the end of the day that I just want to crawl into bed and pass out. It’s a spectacle though - situating all the pillows and making sure the belly and back are supported well. We then sit there rubbing and talking to the belly before lights out.

  8. By on May 11, 2010

    I have a feeling our bedtime routine is about to go topsy-turvy since the baby is bound to be here in about a month, give or take.  For now my routine is to tidy up the house before washing up and hitting the sack.

  9. By on May 11, 2010

    I love bedtime, he gets a long bath, a few books, nurse nurse nurse and then lights out in our arms. It’s my favorite time of day!

  10. By Mallory on May 11, 2010

    Our bedtime routine is bath for Des at 6:30, then we read some books, play for 15-20 minutes, then eat and go to bed by 8:30. Some nights go well, others not so well.

  11. By on May 11, 2010

    No one can go to bed until everyone gets a good night kiss!

  12. By Monica on May 11, 2010

    This post sort of sparking something in my mind- you are a good writer, photographer, and graphic artist.  Would you consider ever making children’s books which feature co-sleeping, breastfeeding, etc, as normal and natural?  I was so disapointed in Eliot’s “I’m going to be a big brother” book because the baby got a bottle when it cried.  Sigh.  I’m sure there is one out there, but I would have loved to see a breastfeeding page instead.  Or how ‘bout even a book “Mommy feeds our baby” with lots of different ways that baby’s eat.  I dunno… the possibilities are endless.

  13. By on May 11, 2010

    We don’t have a real set routine. It depends on how Bekah is acting whether we cuddle for a while in her big bed before we put her in the crib or whether she just goes straight down for the night. BUT she never gets put to bed without hugs and kisses and being told that she is loved.

  14. By Ann on May 11, 2010

    We have finally settled into a bedtime routine.  We change into our pjs, read a story or two. Then start a FANTASTIC lullabye cd called “a child’s gift of lullabyes” while I nurse him.  When he is almost asleep, I lay him in his crib, give him a blanket to hold, and he rolls over and drifts off to dream land.  My son has figured out the routine and when he is really tired he closes the book, and lays down in my lap.  It is the cutest thing!

  15. By on May 11, 2010

    it’s nothing original…bath time, lots of lotions on his sensitive skin, so that makes for a good massage, nursing to sleep. that’s it :)

  16. By on May 11, 2010

    PJs on both kids and brush teeth.  Then my 3 yr old, Oliver, goes to the basement to play a quick song on drums with Dad while my 6 month old, Sophie, and I take my son’s bears and 3 stories upstairs to wait for him.  We read the stories and my son puts on his music and I head next door to nurse the baby to sleep.

  17. By Dandy on May 11, 2010

    The reading out loud part made me laugh because I would always read all the signs we drove by and on long trips I am sure my parents were praying I would fall asleep.

    My husband and I laugh all the time because I get excited and read the menu to him constantly.  Even though he has his own menu.  Even though I’m sure he would prefer to read it himself without me interrupting and reading a good dish and all its ingredients.

  18. By Cynthia A on May 11, 2010

    Our bedtime routine:  Bailey and I read stories, she usually lasts for 1-2 books.  I nurse her, rock her, sing to her and right before she is asleep I place her in her crib and rub her head as she goes to sleep.  We do this every single night :)!

    Voted!

  19. By Navigating the Mothership on May 11, 2010

    Bedtime routine involves quiet activities about 30 minutes before it starts, then a bath, lotion & massage, diaper, pjs, nurse in the rocking chair, pass her to my husband & we both sing “You are my sunshine” and put her in the crib.

  20. By Mozi Esmes Mommy on May 11, 2010

    Those are such sweet photos, and that looks like a sweet book!

    We started a new Bulletin Board feature at Winning Readings.  Each Monday is Winning Kids day, and we’d love to have you link up with any kids book-related post!  http://winningreadings.blogspot.com/2010/05/little-nippers-top-10-alphabet-books.html

  21. By Crystal on May 11, 2010

    Our bedtime routine - ever sense Cain was a few months old - goes like this: bath time, read a story, nurse/bottle, rock for a few mins. and in bed. Every now and then it varies but normally it is that every night.

  22. By Molly on May 11, 2010

    Bedtime is fun! 
    We begin by nursing, then eating our veggie of the day cuisine, then up for a bath, then more nursing and I rock her to sleep (who cares what those stupid books say about not rocking them to sleep?!).
    Such a sweet & special time in our house:).

  23. By on May 12, 2010

    our routine goes like that:
    feeding the baby, changing her and giving her a massage, then i sit with her and read her a bedtime story while her daddy is making dinner. then bedtime.
    it’s my favourite routine of the day.

  24. By on May 12, 2010

    Another entry, another day, and another nighttime routine to be had tonight.

  25. By on May 12, 2010

    Second entry :-)

  26. By on May 12, 2010

    2nd entry :)    oh, and to add to what I’ve said, not every night goes smoothly. When my daughter started teething seriously, there were a few nights where we had to strap her into her carseat and drive her around the neighborhood. The carefully transfer her to hr crib… Those were long nights. And thankfully not the norm.  I was one of those people that swore I would never do that. But when it comes to a misersble little one, and the parents need for sleep… I would try anything. Lol

  27. By Dandy on May 12, 2010

    Right now bedtime in our house consists of me reading and the hubby watching TV.  Then I get tucked in (seriously) as I go to bed earlier since I’m up earlier.

    He even turns down the bed for me earlier in the evening ;)

  28. By Cynthia A on May 12, 2010

    Voted Today :)

  29. By beanski on May 12, 2010

    Bath, racing around, comb hair, snuggles and books and then songs. My daughter calms right down the instant she hears Time For Bed and I recite it from memory when we’re traveling so she feels safe. Before bedtime reading is the best part of the day!

  30. By Jen on May 12, 2010

    I will give it a try.

  31. By The Football Wife on May 12, 2010

    Our bedtime routine:  bath, lotion, books, medicine, more books, snuggles, Silkie & Binkie, music & rocking! 

    We love Tina Burke’s book “Fly, Little Bird”.  We just FINALLY returned it to the library.  Oops!  I highly recommend it!

  32. By Mailis on May 12, 2010

    Entry 2?

    And, you know what? Jude has suddenly decided that he NO LONGER SLEEPS. Like NO LONGER!

    *falling asleep as I type th….*

  33. By on May 12, 2010

    We read a few books, sing a few songs then put on their “movies”. It is actually the Baby Einstein Crib Aquarium Mobile. But to them, it’s a movie :)

  34. By Mallory on May 12, 2010

    2nd entry!

  35. By on May 13, 2010

    next entry and soo sleepy as I type this…

  36. By Cynthia A on May 13, 2010

    Voted

  37. By Sarah Mudder on May 13, 2010

    Well, ours is about to change! We just found out that we are expecting January! So, I suppose our current routine is to SLEEP while we can! :)

  38. By on May 13, 2010

    My daughter Sophia just turned 18 months and we are thinking about making the transition to the big girl bed shortly.  Like you, we only read stories about bedtime, going to bed, parent/baby love books at bedtime! 

    Sophia gets a bath/lotion massage/PJs/books/rock to sleep:)

  39. By Mallory on May 13, 2010

    3rd entry

  40. By on May 13, 2010

    Our bedtime routine is pretty standard; normally I will take him upstairs, we play in the bath, get dried off and dressed - we always sing songs while we are doing this, sit and read a few books, nurse and then into the crib!

    Well and then the second bedtime routine of the night is when my son realizes we have gone to bed, wakes up and wants to nurse again and get into bed with us :)

    But we love it.

  41. By rbenson on May 17, 2010

    My daughter loves to read books at night. She is 3 1/2 and go through as many books as you are willing to read to her. I like to encourage her but I can only read so many books every night. If any of you new mothers are interested in cloth diapering please look at my site http://www.monkeybunz.com .

  42. By rbenson on May 17, 2010

    My daughter loves to read books at night. She is 3 1/2 and go through as many books as you are willing to read to her. I like to encourage her but I can only read so many books every night. Well good luck


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