A Bedtime Book
It's Time to Sleep, My Love

This sweet bedtime book is unique because although Nancy Tillman illustrated it, the text is actually a lullaby by Eric Metaxas.  The author takes the reader on a journey through a series of animals ready to go to sleep and some putting their own young to sleep with words of love. 

It begins...

It's time to sleep, it's time to sleep,

the fishes croon in waters deep. 

The songbirds sing in trees above,

It's time to sleep, my love, my love.

Nancy Tillman books speak love and worth to children.  Her illustrations are truly majestic.

Along with Nancy Tillman's illustrations, a dreamworld of magic is created for a child to enter.

My favorite line in the book says -

Your dreams will be arriving soon.

They'll float to you

in sleep's balloon.

Make the Most of the Sounds

Rhythm & Rhyme - Science has shown us that both the rhythm of reading and the sound of your voice impacts a child's brain development as well as laying neural pathway foundations for reading.  

What to do:

  • Read the book to yourself a few times first to get a natural flow of rhythm.
  • Take your time. Remember, the text is a lullaby.  Read slowly and smoothly like rocking your child to sleep.

Make the Most of the Pictures

  • Nancy Tillman includes moons in many of her books, and this is no exception.  Have your child point to the crescent moon in each illustration they see it.  Use the moon as a cue for your child to know it's time to sleep.
  • Have your child watch for the children throughout the book and where they are sleeping.  What would that be like?
  • This bedtime book carries as much of the story in the illustrations as in the text.  Allow time for your child to look and find all they contain.  So many small details are there!
  • See if your child can identify the various seasons in the illustrations as they change.

Make the Most of the Words
Intellectual Development


  • Vocabulary - Since the  text is poetic, there are words not used in everyday conversation.  These books will increase your child's vocabulary! Words such as croon, coos and drones will introduce a child to new words and animal sounds.
  • Familiar and unfamiliar animals are included in Nancy's illustrations; a toddler will enjoy learning these.

Emerging Readers

  • As always, allow your child to read sight words and words they know along with rhyming words.  The text is so short, I would read once with the child helping and then ask them to just listen the second round while taking in the illustrations.  This will help them gradually settle...this is a bedtime book after all.  :)
  • Have your child use their imagination to think of what they might do if they were sleeping in the treehouse or on the panda as pictured. Have them notice all the places the animals sleep.  They may even dream of a few!

Make the Most of the Message
A Bedtime Book

The message of this bedtime book speaks value and love into a child's life.  Just as sitting and reading any book with a child tells them they matter, the text here puts it into words calling the child "My Love."

It also speaks of the wonder of sleep with all its dreams.  Even the animals are slowing down saying "it's time to sleep" over and over just as waves coming in to the shore.

Emotional Development

  • A bedtime book like this one builds a sense of safety in which the child can rest.  It focuses on the wonder of dreams leading their thoughts away from fear of the dark. This would be wonderful for a foster child!

Spiritual Development

The beautiful illustrations in this bedtime book bring a sense of calm and peace.  The moon seems to be watching over the children and the animals.

The Bible tells us God is watching over us.

Psalm 121:5-8 - "The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.  The Lord will keep you from all harm—He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore."

What a beautiful truth for a child to hear as they're going to sleep. 

More books for young children - Here

More bedtime books _ Here