Ms. Caitlin recommends NOT bedtime stories

As an appreciator of humor, a children’s librarian, and a mom to a preschooler, I’m always looking for a great read-aloud. I’m not just talking about a book that your (clearly much better behaved than mine) child will sit still and enjoy -- I’m talking about something that will spark a reaction and show that reading is not always a passive activity, it’s an experience.

WARNING - these books are not gentle bedtime reads! They are raucous, laugh out loud stories, guaranteed to rile you up, not settle you down.

guess againGuess Again! and Count the Monkeys written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Adam Rex

With splashy illustrations and a snappy rhyme scheme that makes reading aloud a delight, Guess Again! gives us a ridiculous guessing game that will have you and your child snorting with laughter even as you are both rolling your eyes. It’s a book that demands audience participation, an invention that Barnett evidently loves to employ, as we see again in...





Count the Monkeys

Count the Monkeys, Barnett/Rex’s 2013 foray into mayhem and hilarity asks its readers to, you guessed it: “count the monkeys!” Only one problem...there may not be any monkeys.






Lets Sing A LullabyLet’s Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy by Jan Thomas

This book uses the element of surprise to lull the gentle listener into a false sense of cozy, bedtime peace and quiet before hitting them with a bright red EEEEEEEK!! You will laugh out loud at the cowboy’s misplaced anxiety, and your child will love anticipating the next surprise.






Wizard Fairy Magic ChickenThe Wizard, the Fairy, and the Magic Chicken by Helen Lester

A terrific book about the importance of teamwork that is so absurd, your child won’t even realize they’re learning a valuable lesson. Due to the distinct (and ridiculous) characters, this book is particularly fun to read aloud, and children will love the outrageous one-upmanship, to say nothing of the pickle.





Buddies and the bunnies dont play with your foodBuddy and the Bunnies in: Don’t Play With Your Food by Bob Shea

A heartwarming story of a grumpy monster, and some adorable bunnies that seem destined to end up a meal. With funny, unique characters and easy dialogue, Shea’s books almost always make for a great read-aloud, and this one is no exception. There are plenty of sly jokes for grown-ups to appreciate (watch the bunnies multiply from page to page), and kids will love watching the bunnies outsmart the monster.






StuckStuck by Oliver Jeffers

With perfectly spare illustrations (you may recognize Jeffers as the illustrator of Drew Daywalt’s wildly popular The Day the Crayons Quit, and The Day the Crayons Came Home), Stuck tells the story of Floyd, who gets his kite stuck in a tree. It’s a story of misguided tenacity, and the tongue-in-cheek escalation of silliness will have you laughing out loud.



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