Tales From A Hungry Life

August 27, 2014

Bedtime Books and a Snack

by Maria Schulz


Recently, I got an email from Amazon.com about “100 Children’s Books To Read in A Lifetime.” The list that was chosen by the Amazon editors immediately brought me back to my kids’ youngest days and our beloved bedtime ritual: a snack, book, and then lights out! The kids would go off to dreamland, and I would enjoy an hour or two of TV time with my husband or sleep…blessed sleep.

The fun thing is that my girls got just as a big a kick out of naming some of their favorite books from those days as I did. Here’s our list…

15 Favorite Children’s Books

 the rainbow fish

The Rainbow Fish

By Marcus Pfister

This beautiful book, with its glittery scales and shimmering pages, was a big favorite of my daughters. They loved the story of the conceited fish with shiny scales that learns how to be happy and have friends. Personally, I didn’t like the idea that the Rainbow Fish had to give up who he was to be accepted, but my kids still consider this one to be a favorite.


Sing it, baby

Sing it, baby



By Vanessa Gill-Brown

A little girl decides to pass her dog off as a little girl and bring her to a birthday party. When everyone sings “Happy Birthday,” Rufferella belts out her own version…and becomes an overnight pop sensation. Then she’s invited for high tea with the Queen of England, and the fun really begins. This book was so hilarious that even now, it’s making me laugh. I used to beg to read this one!


Meet Pat the Bunny

Meet Pat the Bunny

Pat the Bunny

By Dorothy Kunhardt

We got this book and stuffed bunny gift set when my older daughter was born. It never ceased to amuse her and later, her sister. They loved playing peek-a-boo, smelling flowers, and patting the bunny. In fact, when it came time to name the stuffed bunny, it was easy. We named him Pat.

the velveteen rabbit

The Velveteen Rabbit

By Margery Williams

“‘Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.'” If you don’t love this story about a toy rabbit that longs to be by “his” child’s side all of the time—and eventually become real—you might just have ice water running through your veins.

Lead the Wild Rumpus!

Lead the Wild Rumpus!

Where the Wild Things Are

By Maurice Sendak

Let the Wild Rumpus begin! After Max threatens to “eat” his mother up, he’s sent to bed without supper. So off he goes to the land “where the wild things are.” Of course, the Wild Things think Max is: The. Greatest. Kid. Ever. Especially since he dances with them and howls at the moon. Every page of this book is funny, and I say that after having read it at least 12,000,000,000 times.

This dog works hard

This dog works hard



By Pamela Duncan Edwards

This family dog’s work is never done! He has to guard his family’s big blue “kennel,” wake the whole family up at sunrise, dig holes and move plants in the garden, walk the children on a leash, and more. This story always cracked us up, especially since Muldoon sounded a lot like our dog.


If You Give a Mouse A Cookie

Laura Joffe Numeroff

If you give a mouse a cookie, he may ask for a glass of milk. And if you give him a glass of milk, he may ask for a mirror….This mouse never gets tired of asking for things, and he demands more and more, leaving the little boy exhausted. He sounds a lot like some kids I know.

Detective LaRue

Detective La Rue: Letters from the Investigation

When the Hibbins’ cats go missing, Mrs. LaRue’s dog, Ike, is framed. Through newspaper clippings and “desperate” letters to Mrs. LaRue, Detective LaRue pleads his case…while he’s on the lam. When my daughter heard I was writing this blog post, she insisted that I include this book. It still makes us laugh, and I’m a lot older than the intended age group.




Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus

By Mo Willems

When the bus driver gets off the bus for a break, he tells readers: “don’t let the pigeon drive the bus.” Unfortunately, this particular pigeon just won’t take no for an answer. He begs, pleads, freaks out, and says something every parent has heard their child say: “I NEVER GET TO DO ANYTHING!” This book was a scream…and we all enjoyed saying NO every time the pigeon asked if he could drive the bus.

my somebody special

My Somebody Special

By Sarah Weeks

“Our busy day is almost through. Somebody special is coming for you. Somebody special will open the door. And you’ll be the one they’re looking for.”

If you’ve ever had to run from work to pick up kids, only to find them sobbing by the daycare door, BUY THIS BOOK! I read it to my girls every night, and it made them laugh (look! The mommy dog is running to get there on time!) and told them I’d always come back.

tell me again about the night I was born

Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born

By Jamie Lee Curtis

My kids weren’t adopted, but they loved this story about a little girl who asks her mom about the night she was brought home. It led to lots of stories, questions, and laughter about the night each of my kids came home from the hospital.


A quitter never wins

A quitter never wins

Winners Never Quit

By Mia Hamm

Remember when your kids (or nieces, nephews, neighbors, etc.) wanted to quit playing because they lost a game? In this book, Mia Hamm tells the story of how she stomped off the field one day after losing, only to be shunned from the game the next day. She quickly learned how to lose gracefully thanks to her siblings’ tough love. My kids played soccer and absolutely loved this book.

So sweet

So sweet

The Kissing Hand

By Audrey Penn

Chester Racoon is afraid to go to school and doesn’t want to leave his mommy’s side. So, his Mom draws a “kiss” on his hand to show him that she’s always with him, even when he’s away. The Kissing Hand was a godsend on those early back-to-school days when my kids needed help being just a little bit braver.

Our hero

Our hero

Cam Jansen

By David A. Adler

This first chapter book/mystery series captivated my daughter so much that it launched her into a lifetime love of reading. With her photographic mind (Cam stands for Camera), curiosity, and smarts, Cam Jansen solves cases while the adults are still scratching their heads. This series reminded me of my own personal favorite detective—a certain Miss Nancy Drew. I read all of those too!


Now available on amazon.com

Now available on amazon.com

Tales From A Hungry Life: A Memoir With Recipes

By Maria Schulz

Shameless plug? Well, sure. But I was delighted when I found out that my daughter was telling her campers the stories from my book—and they kept asking for more. So go ahead…read a story or two from my book to your kids. It may inspire a bedtime snack or two, and send them off to dreamland happy, content, and laughing



“Oreo” Cookies


The beautiful thing about homemade cookies is you control what goes in them. Besides, a cookie or two never killed anybody. Just keep the serving size small, and don’t forget the milk.

I really tried to find a healthy snack recipe that I could share that I would personally want to eat before bed. However, I didn’t find one. Here are some of my own healthy, low-cal bedtime choices:

Toasted whole grain bread with almond butter

Apple slices with peanut butter

Whole grain crackers with a small wedge of cheese

A mini-banana

Toasted almonds, raisins and carob chips (keep this to ¼ cup)

Low-sugar cereal with milk

Chocolate milk

So, Hungry Lifers…what was your favorite book when you were a kid? Which book did you love reading to your own kids? What is/was your favorite bed time snack? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks!




  1. Loved the stroll down memory lane. I can remember reading many of those stories to my kids. I think Kate still owns the whole series of If You Give a Mouse A Cookie. She was also into all the Fancy Nancy books. My favorite was the Nancy Drew series. I couldn’t wait for one to come out. I had a friend in grammar school who subscribed to the series and I had to wait for her to finish her book so I could borrow it. Sometimes it was torture waiting for it but my family couldn’t afford the set. It’s true what they say, All good things come to those who wait! Then as I grew older the Harry Potter series got me going. I had to have my copy delivered to my front door the first day it became available. J.K. Rowling never disappointed me, well maybe one time when she killed off Dumbledore. Oops Spoiler Alert. 🙂

    Comment by Kathleen Lagalante — August 27, 2014 @ 8:25 am | Reply

    • I remember going to the St. Robert’s library and checking out every Nancy Drew book I could lay my hands on. The Harry Potter books kept Maddie reading for years! Good for Kate–the Mouse books were always hits here. Which books did Sara like?

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — September 6, 2014 @ 6:03 pm | Reply

  2. I never had children’s books read to me at bed time. I can’t remember ever reading a book like that to my kids. But here’s what I remember. My Dad would tell me about Popeye and make it real enough so that I would eat my spinach, which by the way I hated. My Mom would hug me to her bosoms so tight that I knew I was safe in this warm cuddly maze of softness and love. I remember gathering my kids together in front of the Victrola (those who don’t know what that is think Hi-Fi) after seeing a play like “Man From LaMancha” and playing the cast album and singing with it, acting all the parts introducing them to the fine art of musical theatre. These are what I remember. A loving father, warm caring mother and later when I became a father reveling in the childhood of my children.

    Comment by Bglou — August 27, 2014 @ 3:35 pm | Reply

    • I don’t remember you reading books to me, but I do remember Mom reading to me. She got me a beautifully illustrated version of Sleeping Beauty and would read it to me before bed. I loved it! By the way, when did all this reveling happen?

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — September 6, 2014 @ 6:04 pm | Reply

  3. Love this nostalgic list. The Pigeon books are among the ones I read to my grandson now. The read aloud that rocked my world was Madeline, especially the very first one about the appendicitis. Never tire of “the smallest one”.

    Comment by Emmi — August 28, 2014 @ 11:01 am | Reply

    • Madeline was a big hit with my girls too. I loved it! It’s so fun that you’re reading the Pigeon books to your grandson. How exciting! Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney is another great one to read to him–but you probably already know that!

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — September 6, 2014 @ 6:09 pm | Reply

  4. The wonderful thing about children’s books is the best root themselves in our memories so that we share them with the next generation which goes on to do the same. Nobody says about WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE or PAT THE BUNNY or IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKING, “Oh, that old thing!” I’ve got to try those homemade Oreos! Thanks, Maria, as always!

    Comment by Beth Goehring — August 29, 2014 @ 10:11 am | Reply

    • Oops! I meant IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE. Or we could write a new entry in this series: IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKING CLASS, he’s gonna want a set of Farberware. If he gets a set of Farberware, he’s gonna want a Viking Forge. If he gets a Viking Forge, he’s gonna want a SubZero refrigerator.” By the end, he’s living on Park Avenue in a co-op!

      Comment by Beth Goehring — August 29, 2014 @ 10:14 am | Reply

      • This is great! I think the mouse would have a nicer kitchen than me. I want a Viking Forge! Thanks for reading and commenting, Beth.

        Comment by talesfromahungrylife — September 6, 2014 @ 6:11 pm

    • I would sit down and read those books tonight if I had any little kids around! Have you tried the homemade oreos yet?

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — September 6, 2014 @ 6:10 pm | Reply

  5. Maria, I read a book called My Dad is Perfect to my now 26 year old daughter. She appeared to love it and had me read it over and over again. I think she believed it then, too bad she had to grow up.

    Comment by Tony Lagalante — August 29, 2014 @ 1:10 pm | Reply

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