Everything sucks, the world is always on fire, I’m stretched so thin that I’m about to break (thanks overwork!), and so last night I really needed something special to unwind. Something that didn’t demand a hell of a lot of analytical abilities. Something with big font and easy words, because dyslexia is bad when stress and fatigue are bad. Something that was pretty light, both in case I dropped it on myself and because my hands are a fibromyalgia hotspot. And so, for all of those reasons (and because it was looking at me), I read Sandra Boynton’s charming The Going to Bed Book as my going-to-bed book, and I am perforce qualified to say that you needn’t be smol to enjoy The Going to Bed Book, or, for that matter, any other Boynton title.
Boynton infuses The Going to Bed Book with her trademark charm: colors are bright, storyline and anthropomorphized animal characters are slightly goofy, and the world in which they live feels somehow much safer and more magical than our own—while, at the end of the day, also being very similar. (The animals still have to brush their teeth, after all.) I laughed pretty hard when our little buddies, after putting on their pajamas, went back upstairs to the deck of their ship to exercise, but whatever works, right? It felt a lot like a nod to so many little kids’ burst of energy right before they topple over, and indeed, our fearless crew was soon dragging back downstairs, ready, this time, to sleep.
The Going to Bed Book is a very, very smol board book, written for smol people to enjoy. But, as is so often the case with books written for children, you really don’t have to be smol to enjoy it yourself. Boynton’s illustrations are always a joy, and books like this feel, at the end of a difficult day, like a lullaby, or an embrace.
And honestly? Most of the lullabies my mom sang to me were a lot less soft than The Going to Bed Book.