Perfect Picture Book Friday – The Going to Bed Book

Perfect Picture Book Fridays are the creation of the lovely children’s book author Susanna Leonard Hill. Check in each week on Fridays for new book reviews. Susanna also has a complete list (alphabetically and by theme) of all the book reviews. It’s a wonderful resource if you’re looking for activities for a book, or books focused on a particular theme.

This is the last (for now) in my series reviewing books for babies and very young children. It has been a lovely trip back in time for me. I have given away many of the “baby” books we once owned, but somehow still have a shelf-full, and I’m glad I’ve saved these. My almost-four-year-old has enjoyed looking at them with me, which shows that these books really do span the ages.

the_going_to_bed_book_coverTitle: The Going to Bed Book

Author/Illustrator: Sandra Boynton

Publisher: Little Simon

Year: 1984, 1995 (revised version)

Genre: Board book/picture book

Ages: Infant-5

Themes: Bedtime


The sun has set not long ago. Now everybody goes below to take a bath in one big tub with soap all over—SCRUB, SCRUB, SCRUB!

Synopsis: (from publisher’s website) This classic bedtime story is just right for winding down the day as a joyful, silly group of animals scrub scrub scrub in the tub, brush, brush brush their teeth and finally rock and rock and rock to sleep.

What makes it great: What makes it great: Boynton’s silly, expressive animals, a little surprise, and a gentle ending (“They rock, and rock, and rock, to sleep.”)

What readers notice: This book became part of my son’s bedtime routine when he was about 8 months old. We would start reciting the lines as he was taking a bath, then getting his pajamas on, and finally while rocking him before putting him in his crib. Anything to help reinforce those rituals was helpful, I thought! At that age, I think he enjoyed looking at the illustrations – each page has a different background color in a medium tone, with bright spots of color that pop. And the last page is dark – perfect for bedtime.

What a writer notices: Even in this short book there’s a little surprise for readers – when the animals, all brushed and bathed, run upstairs in their pajamas to exercise before going to sleep. (It’s a great example of a compelling page turn.) I also love how the setting, a boat, enables the author to plausibly “rock” all of the animals to sleep.

Activities/Links to Resources: 

Activities focused on hygiene habits

A special education teacher reviews The Going to Bed Book app for the iPad:

Sandra Boynton: The Unbelievable Fascinating Autobiography

16 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday – The Going to Bed Book

    • Carrie Finison says:

      I agree, Joanna. Have you seen/heard GRUNT. It’s a Gregorian chant CD that she composed and wrote. Here’s the description from Amazon: In a far-off valley live the obeisant Domoinkan Pigs of Snouto Domoinko de Silo. Here, twelve times a day, these simple swine grunt the unadorned, ethereal music of Pigorian Chant (translation included). For occasions from the first mealtime (Op-slay ime-tay. Et’s lay eat-ay. Um yay, um-yay.) to Nox Animaliae, when they’re joined by all the animals in a harmony that dates back before the time of Caesar Hogustus, the pigs chant.

      It’s in Pig Latin!

  1. Laura Anne Miller says:

    Carrie – we have Sandra Boynton mania in our households. I’d never discovered her until I had grandchildren. My daughter even took apart a SB desk calendar and framed the pictures for the kids’ walls. I second, or third, or fourth your pick for PPBF!!

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