Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

One Minute till Bedtime: 60-Second Poems to Send You off to Sleep

One Minute till Bedtime: 60-Second Poems to Send You off to Sleep

Selected by Kenn Nesbitt
Illustrator:  Christoph Niemann 
For ages 4 to 6
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2016   ISBN: 978-0316341219

Many grownups hear, on a regular basis, the words “just one more!” at bedtime; one more story is required before the light can be switched off. The child in their life is sleepy, warm, and cozy in bed, and yet he or she is not quite ready to fall asleep. Almost, but not quite.

This book of poems is just the thing to pull off the shelf when those words are uttered. The collection is packed with short poems that “feed the imagination, fuel the love of reading,” and send the child “off to sleep in a snap.”

We begin with a poem called Whew! which takes us through the evening and bedtime rituals of a young child. Dinner is eaten, the trash is taken out, the child gets clean, and teeth are brushed. Pajamas are slipped on, pillows are fluffed, and Ted is picked up and carried off to bed. It is only after all these things are done that the child is at last free “to read.”

Then there is a poem about how every book we read “makes a home inside your head.” In another a child tells us how much he or she likes “old stories” that are full “inky drawings of  / enchanted castles, clanking chains, / pirate treasure” and many other marvelous things. The child does not mind that the storybooks that contain these tales are dusty, and that they have tattered pages. After all, the stories that lie between the covers might be old, but once, perhaps many years ago, they “were new.”

In addition to books and stories, bedtime would not be complete without stuffed animals. In the poem Stuffed Animal Collection by Eileen Spinelli, we encounter a child who has so many stuffed animals that the mother calls her child’s bedroom a zoo.

In this book there are poems of every flavor, color, shape, and size. In short, there is something here for every mood and inclination, and each one is a perfect gem that is just right for that, almost-asleep-but-not-quite interlude.