(Kids Corner) Three Great Rocking-Chair Picture Books

One great thing about having a little baby is the cuddling. Not to say that Raisin doesn’t cuddle with me every now and then, but Strawberry is just the right size for a sweet cuddle in my arms as we rock in the chair.

Many times when I try to read to Strawberry, she tries to grab the book and eat it. This is pretty normal, since seven months old is just the age of chewing on everything in site. But occasionally, as I mentioned before, Strawberry really loves to listen to my voice, cuddle into my arms, and listen to what I’m saying. A few of the books are favorites of mine for such moments because they are especially wonderfully for rocking back and forth in a rocking chair.

The first one I love for rocking-chair reading is The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper, reillustrated by Loren Long. Raisin loves this for rocking-chair reading too. In fact, when we took the rocking chair out of his room, he said, with serious concern, “But how will we read The Little Engine that Could now, without rocking?” Reading this story is lots of fun for me. I really play up the story, stopping rocking when the book says “…stopped with a jerk,” rocking slowly when the other trains arrive, and rocking at increasing speeds as we get to the “I think I can” pages. I also use silly voices for the different engines because I’m goofy like that. Raisin and now Strawberry enjoy it too. I love Loren Long’s updated illustrations: I never was a fan of the original book, but Loren Long’s illustrations are bright and friendly, and the book is extra large, perfect for reading with multiple children.

Another great rocking book is Sandra Boynton’s Going to Bed Book. It’s a silly goodnight book because after taking a bat and getting jammies on, the animal kids all exercise for a few minutes before they head to bed. But it is a nice balance of bedtime and fun, because it ends with the boat they are on rocking gently: “They rock and rock and rock to sleep.” It’s a nice book for rocking a child to sleep. I recently found the Android app of this book on sale (for $0.25!), and this is likewise lots of fun, with interactive silliness.

Time for Bed by Mem Fox and illustrated by Jane Dyer, is another relaxing bedtime book. The go-to-bed phrases have a wonderful rhythm just right for rocking a child to sleep.

It’s time for bed, little mouse, little mouse,
Darkness is falling all over the house.

The richly realistic paintings of animal mothers and babies evoke a peaceful, relaxing feeling. After cycling through other animals at bedtime, it of course ends with the little child being tucked in “good night!” With a gentle rocking and a parent’s soft voice, this book is simply wonderful for a rocking-chair bedtime read.

There you have it: three great rocking-chair picture books. But there are an infinite number of options out there. What bedtime or rocking-chair books have been your favorites?

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

  1. We’ve got a ton of Boynton books, and Addison loves them. Of course, Addison’s first nightmare was also about a cow who tried to steal her playhouse. Given the high percentage of cows in Boynton’s books, I blame her for the nightmare.

      1. Not familiar with Thomas. I’m trying to get her into Bill Pete, which appears to be working, but some of the monster ones scared her too.

  2. I loved it when my mother read this book to us when we were little. She did the tired engine the best. My family is always saying “I am sooooo tired. I must rest my weeeeeeeary wheeeeeeels,” because we are always tired because we need a thousand hours of sleep in order to function.

    1. Jenny » I do crazy voices too…one day, I overheard my husband reading it to my son and he was complaining because there were no silly voices….I do the first train in a “posh” British accent. He’s a spoiled one, he is!

  3. I got The Little Engine That Could book as an imagination library book. It quickly became one of my son’s favorite books. He likes the bright colors in the pictures and the fun story. The story is very good for teaching kids to help others and that they can do anything if they put their mind to it.

    1. Jessi » yep, there is a reason it has carried over from generation to generation! I don’t know which illustrations the Imagination Library one is, but I love the Loren Long illustrations the best! The other one (the original with the greeen-and-white polkadot clown)never grabbed my attention when I was a kid.

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