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arnbev959's avatar

What are some good bedtime stories for reading aloud?

Asked by arnbev959 (10888points) March 1st, 2010

I’m looking for things to read as bedtime stories. Happy, cute, or mellow stories are best, but wistfully neutral or mildly somber tales would be ok too.

Any kind of writing works. Poems, short stories, fairy tales, essays, anything. Preferable no more than six or seven pages (and even shorter is better.)

Some examples might be Italo Calvino’s short story “The Enchanted Garden,” or Robert Frost’s poem “A Girl’s Garden.” Anything, really.

Any story that contains any of the following themes would be excellent: the countryside, the woods, tea, farms, hugs, sleep, animals, stars, blankets, gardens.

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24 Answers

belakyre's avatar

I don’t know if the one I have in mind is appropriate, but I always like “The Nightingale and the Rose” by Oscar Wilde. (It’s pretty short)

Nullo's avatar

I suggest you buy a fairy tale compendium. Not all fairy tales are suitable for bedtimes, but a lot of them are. You might also try the Children’s Book of Virtues, if you can find one.
The Wind in the Willows is a good bedtime book in places. Each chapter reads like an individual story, making it ideal for stop-and-go reading.
My dad once read me Robert Heinlein’s Rocketship Galileo chapter at a time for a bedtime story (or maybe I was sick? It’s hazy). Not going to be popular with the tea-and-gardens crowd, but a good read all the same.

ragingloli's avatar

Faust. The German version of course.

Cruiser's avatar

My youngest couldn’t hear this story enough…

A mother held her new baby and very slowly rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while she held him, she sang:

I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.

The baby grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was two years old, and he ran all around the house. He pulled all the books off the shelves. He pulled all the food out of the refrigerator and he took his mother’s watch and flushed it down the toilet. Sometimes his mother would say, “this kid is driving me CRAZY!”

But at night time, when that two-year-old was quiet, she opened the door to his room, crawled across the floor, looked up over the side of his bed; and if he was really asleep she picked him up and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. While she rocked him she sang:

I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.

The little boy grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was nine years old. And he never wanted to come in for dinner, he never wanted to take a bath, and when grandma visited he always said bad words. Sometimes his mother wanted to sell him to the zoo!

But at night time, when he was asleep, the mother quietly opened the door to his room, crawled across the floor and looked up over the side of the bed. If he was really asleep, she picked up that nine-year-old boy and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while she rocked him she sang:

I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.

The boy grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was a teenager. He had strange friends and he wore strange clothes and he listened to strange music. Sometimes the mother felt like she was in a zoo!

But at night time, when that teenager was asleep, the mother opened the door to his room, crawled across the floor and looked up over the side of the bed. If he was really asleep she picked up that great big boy and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. While she rocked him she sang:

I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.

That teenager grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was a grown-up man. He left home and got a house across town. But sometimes on dark nights the mother got into her car and drove across town. If all the lights in her son’s house were out, she opened his bedroom window, crawled across the floor, and looked up over the side of his bed. If that great big man was really asleep she picked him up and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while she rocked him she sang:

I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.

Well, that mother, she got older. She got older and older and older. One day she called up her son and said, “You’d better come see me because I’m very old and sick.” So her son came to see her. When he came in the door she tried to sing the song. She sang:

I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always…

But she couldn’t finish because she was too old and sick. The son went to his mother. He picked her up and rocked her back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And he sang this song:

I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
my Mommy you’ll be.

When the son came home that night, he stood for a long time at the top of the stairs. Then he went into the room where his very new baby daughter was sleeping. He picked her up in his arms and very slowly rocked her back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while he rocked her he sang:

I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.
http://www.rogerknapp.com/inspire/loveforever.htm

nebule's avatar

@Cruiser that’s beautiful… thank you x swish swish

SuperMouse's avatar

Goodnight Moon and Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown
The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton
Love You Forever by Robert Munsch (the story posted above by @Cruiser)
The Napping House (or almost anything else) by Don and Audrey Wood
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
More, More, More Said the Baby by Vera B. Williams

These are among my very favorite bedtime stories and my kids loved them!

Just_some_guy's avatar

Me and my children make up stories as we go. At first they come up with an idea. Then, I make a story around it. It makes for alot of fun if you are bored, and they love them before bed. We dont have television here so they need some stimulation. This is a great ? and I will be taking notes too.

janbb's avatar

What age kids are you looking to read to?

For young ones (3–5), the ones @Supermouse poses plus :
The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown
Beatrix Potter stories
Where the Wild Things Are Maurice Sendak
Time of Wonder Robert McCloskey
The Monster at the End of This Book
Bedtime for Frances by Rusell Hoban
A Child’s Garden of Verse Robert Louis Stevenson

For slightly older ones (5–8); read a chapter a night:
Winnie the Pooh A.A. Milne
Stuart Little E.B. White
Charlotte’s Web E.B. White
Half Magic Edward Eager
The Enchanted Garden E.Nesbit
Peter Pan J.M. Barrie
The Princess Bride

Shecky_Johnson's avatar

Sheep in a Jeep. It rhymes, it has sheep, it has jeeps.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Anything by Dr.Suess :)

davidbetterman's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille The exact words I was just thinking!!!!!

nebule's avatar

Darkness Slipped In is a really fun and profound book for either girls or boys…although seems to be geared towards girls, my son loves it..specially when I get up and do a little jig for him in the middle of the book…!

arnbev959's avatar

@janbb: It’s not for a child. But kids’ stories are good.

janbb's avatar

Oh – then how about some of Oscar Wilde’s fairy tales, O. Henry’s short stories, poems by Dylan Thomas and Robert Frost, William Shakespeare’s sonnets….?

You’ve got me going in a whole new direction. Want to come over and read to me?

rangerr's avatar

Oh, God. I love this question. <3 I feel like a little kid right now.

@Cruiser That was my favorite book when I was little!

DrMC's avatar

@petethepothead I like the Raven by Poe. (this is a short clip ala Simpson’s)

Of course keep in mind that I carved a pumpkin so scary that I was banned from carving pumpkins by my wife until my son was older.

Muahahaahahaha

chels's avatar

Here you go, kids.

rangerr's avatar

@chels Oh man oh man oh man. I think you just won my heart.

toomuchcoffee911's avatar

@Cruiser Thank you for that! I loved that story!

I was always a fan of The Thumb Sucker. But that’s just me.~

nebule's avatar

@toomuchcoffee911 As an ex-thumb-sucker I’m speechless x :-D

tragiclikebowie's avatar

The Twelve Dancing Princesses

Shecky_Johnson's avatar

As it turns out, Sheep in a Jeep is a sequel to Sheep in a Shop. So that’s kinda cool.

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