This Week’s Word Is “Bedtime.”
In what will be the final Word Wednesday column of 2020, I have another great book from Britannica Books, an imprint of What on Earth publishing. The holiday season is upon us, but there should be just enough time to squeeze this one under the tree if you so desire. It’s a book of non-fiction stories that are perfect for reading aloud. Introduce your little ones to the wonders of the world with 5 Minute Really True Stories for Bedtime.
What Is 5 Minute Really True Stories for Bedtime?
It’s a collection of 30 tales that describe a little bit about the world around us. The stories contained within are all sleep and nighttime related. The book starts with “Why Do We sleep?” and “What Are Dreams?” before moving onto other topics such as “King Tut’s Beds,” “A Busy Night at the Hospital,” and “The Northern Lights.”
Each story is 6–8 pages long which is short enough to be read in 5 minutes, just as your child is going to bed. Plus, like all good bedtime stories, there are lots of illustrations to look at. Many of the illustrations are annotated whilst others are more like traditional story illustrations.
The range of stories covered is impressive: you can learn about sleeping in space or sleeping in hammocks, or you could learn about the amazing Kang Bed Stove, which I had never heard of, but would now love to have installed at home! There are stories about nocturnal goings-on, whether it be “The Rush to Market” or “Night Hunters.” You can find out about the sleeping habits of animals, whether they be beneath the waves, under the ground, and even in the air. There are also a number of stories devoted to geography and astronomy, such as why we have night and day, how we get a midnight sun, and the legends hidden in the constellations. If that wasn’t enough, the astronomer in me loved the pages devoted to the colors of stars and how the Moon was made.
The book closes out with a breakdown and potted biographies of the book’s contributors, authors and illustrators, a short glossary, and an interesting sources/further reading section.
Why Read 5 Minute Really True Stories for Bedtime?
The parceling up of information into easily digestible chunks is such a great idea. Children are always interested in what’s going on around them, but, often, the books that deliver the answers they are looking for can be a little dry, or perhaps the information is hard to access (although I’d hope that this isn’t the case for the books reviewed for Word Wednesday). By breaking things down into bedtime-story sized chunks, and backing the stories up with delightful illustrations, the Really True Stories for Bedtime delivers perfectly edible nuggets of information.
The stories can be read in any order, but they do have a natural progression to them, which means as you travel through your book, your child’s knowledge about sleep and nighttime gradually grows.
I was enchanted by the idea of this book, which is why I requested a copy to review. I wasn’t disappointed. There’s so much I didn’t know about sleep and the night; or rather, things I had never stopped to consider. 5 Minute Really True Stories for Bedtime is a novel take on children’s non-fiction; it’s a lovely book perfect for inquisitive children, everywhere. The magic of fiction at bedtime is irreplaceable, but the books like this show how true stories can wow too.
If you’d like to pick up a copy of 5 Minute Really True Stories for Bedtime, you can do so here in the US and here, in the UK.
And that’s it for Word Wednesday in 2020. Thank you for reading this column during this craziest of years. I do hope that wherever you are, you are able to stay safe, have meaningful contact with loved ones, and find lots of lovely books to read over the holiday season. Word Wednesday will be back in 2021, when hopefully we can all start looking forwards again.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to write this review.