Review of Let’s Get Ready for Bed

Let’s Get Ready for Bed is the second in a series of books by a dream team partnership: Michael W. Smith and Mike Nawrocki. Michael W. Smith, of course is one of the most prolific and successful Christian recording artists today. Perhaps an even greater achievement was that he’s been married to his wife for almost 40 years and has 14 grandchildren, all of whom I’m sure have been the lucky recipients of many bedtime lullabies from their Grammy and Dove award winning grandfather.

Mike Nawrocki was the co-creator of VeggieTales along with Phil Vischer. VeggieTales, of course, was and still is one of the best Christian children’s programs. I’m talking about the original VHS videos, of course, and not the version of VeggieTales before NBC took it and destroyed it (although NetFlix has done a decent job of bringing it back). To this day, Nawrocki is still the voice of Larry the Cucumber.

Nighty Night and Good Night was the first in this series of books. It was the story of a little boy named Ben, who says a simple good night prayer every night with his mother. But one night he can’t sleep. So his three little stuffed animals., Bear, Lamby, and Sleepy Puppy try different things to help him sleep, to no avail. At last, they form a little band and play a lullaby that helps Ben drift off to sleep (it happens that the lullaby is a Michael W. Smith song from his companion album, which you can listen to for free online). Overall, I loved this book–the illustrations by Tod Wilmer and Chuck Vollmer were beautiful but simple cartoon illustrations that look inspired by the style of A.A. Milne–down to the seams in the three stuffed animals who come to life, and the story was simple and sweet.

Let’s Get Ready for Bed is a follow-up book by the same authors and illustrators that features the same characters of Bear, Lamby, and Sleepy Puppy. Like its predecessor it has 20 pages. Unlike the first book, this one doesn’t have the character of Ben at all; instead, this one focuses on the character of Sleepy Puppy. His two friends observe the things he does before going to bed: taking a bath, putting on his jammies, brushing his teeth, saying a good-night prayer, and reading a book. After all this, he still can’t sleep, so Lamby and Bear sing him another lullaby (this time, it’s the animals’ adaptation of “Rock-a-bye Baby”).

Overall, I found the book to be adorable like the last one. The illustrations are in the same style. The words are simple and easy to understand. You can tell that they were written by a songwriter and a professional children’s author, as the rhyme and meter are smooth and not awkward like you see in so many other children’s books.

As for the storyline, the last book was intentionally a little chaotic as the little boy couldn’t get to sleep and his three friends tried different approaches to helping him; whereas this one is on the calmer side, with just the three animals focused more on the bedtime routine. It’s a great way to reinforce to your child (and yourself) the importance of having the same routine every night.

Like probably a lot of you, I’ve fallen into the trap of reading books at bedtime that end up being a bit too…exciting. Let’s Get Ready for Bed is a great book to help calm everyone down and get them ready to sleep for the night. It’s sometimes hard to find a Christian book that strikes that perfect balance between being “too preachy” and “too secular”, but I think this one does a great job. The quality of the book is as high as any other children’s book, but there are two pages where Sleepy Puppy is on his knees praying a beautiful good night prayer (which you can also pray with your child).  It’s a great book to have in your rotation of bedtime stories.