Score: 93/100 (9.3 out of 10)
Bedtime Fables: Children's Tales of Morals and Adventure is a delightful collection of children's bedtime stories that concern different moral values, virtues, and good habits.
These moral values, virtues, and good habits championed by this book include hard work, listening to parents, perseverance, respect, gratitude, appreciation, compassion, patience, caring, cooperation, cleaning up after ourselves, self-control, healthy eating, making good decisions, drinking water, and even having good hygiene!
This book is a collection of bedtime stories that the author lovingly crafted for his own children, having found it difficult to find other bedtime stories with good lessons for children. He shares these stories so that you and your children can enjoy and learn from them too!
His children—Ila, Roman, and Christopher—are represented by name and serve as characters throughout the book. However, they're not the only characters. There are a few others in here who are likely inspired by people that the author knows.
For example, one of our favorite characters was Daisy the Deer. Daisy the Deer appears in the story titled “The Compassionate Animals of the Forest”--a story that, as the name implies, concerns kindness and compassion. Following a catastrophic event that sweeps the forest, Daisy the Deer helps the other animals to rebuild their homes, inspiring them to help each other to do the same.
There's also a character named Chrissy Poo, a teddy bear. Chrissy Poo, who has an unhealthy appetite for chocolates, is able to learn to control and temper herself. This might seem like a minor thing, but obesity has become such a huge problem, particularly among our youth. What's worse is that many children simply lack the education and experience to know how certain foods negatively affect their food and weight. This is especially a problem if their parents, guardians, and teachers are never able to enlighten them about eating healthy.
It is a little disappointing that both of these stories—with such great lessons and promising characters—occur like a flash in the pan. They're incredibly short with few ups, downs, twists, or turns. There are times in these stories when it just seems too straightforward and too shallow. Most of these characters lack any kind of depth. They're not given enough time to breathe. The plots are usually less than 3-5 paragraphs long. That's good in that it accommodates the small attention spans of children, but it may not be so good from the standpoint of literary quality. These aren't inherently good or well-written stories, they're adequately written stories with good lessons.
Anyway, moving on. As we said before, most of these stories star the author's own children—Ila, the daughter, and Roman and Christopher, two twin brothers.
The book starts off with one of the best, most amusing, clever, and humorous story in the book: “The Hygiene Quest in Dragonland: A Journey with Ila and the Twins.” As the title implies, this is a story about having good hygiene, however, it is presented in a fantastical, entertaining way. The children are taught about washing their hands and showering every day, but they are told this in a story involving a magical healer and a dragon! The children are entertained while being educated, the perfect balance.
“The Princess and the Magic Words” is another wonderful story about Princess Ila learning to treat others with respect and to use words like “please” and “thank you.”
“Roman and the Treasure Hunt on the High Seas” is a noticeably shorter story, and this is when the book starts to show its cracks and seem a bit more forced or contrived. We guess it's ok since PSAs serve their purpose in teaching kids to make good choices. In this story, Roman is a pirate who doesn't follow the instructions of his dad, the pirate captain. He ends up on an island where the skeletons come to life and almost attack him until he is saved in the nick of time. He is reassured that his father loves him and that he should listen next time.
We enjoyed “The Little Boy Who Found Gratitude” but it ended too abruptly. In one simple, straightforward conversation with a magical tree, the boy goes from being greedy and selfish to being frugal enough to accept just one golden leaf from the tree. It started so well and then seemed to fall flat.
“The Hare Siblings and the Lesson of Patience” was one of the better stories in this book. Again, it features the three siblings, this time personifying rabbits. What's really amusing about this story is that there's a third character, a turtle named “Slowpoke.” Slowpoke the Turtle, like Daisy the Deer, is one of the best characters in this book. He's able to teach the children that good things often take time and that they should be patient.
Bizarrely, we didn't remember much about “The Ninjas and the Fruit Monsters of Candy Land” which might indicate that it was a bit too out-there for our taste. Maybe we're not anthropomorphic fruit ninja kind of people.
“The Truthful Little Girl” is actually a self-explanatory story, but it was oddly quite touching and we're quite sentimental about it. In this story, a girl who is tempted to tell a misleading lie for her own selfish benefit instead decides against it, gaining the reputation as a truthful and trustworthy person. That's actually very powerful!
“The Kind Little Boy' might be the weakest story in the book. It had tremendous potential, however, it went from 5 mph to 120 mph in 5 seconds, then kinda fell flat. It has a very, very promising and beautiful premise: a kind young boy steps up to protect a little girl. However, this just magically turns the bad guys “nice” and changes the entire city into a nice city. It just seems like a few dozen steps were skipped.
“The Clean Up Crew and Friends” stood out to us as being a really appealing and memorable story about picking up and cleaning up after yourself. This is especially great since it features several cuddly animals. The lion cubs in the previous story were also very appealing as well as the lesson to persevere. Both of these lessons are very good for children to learn.
The art in here is varied and quite wonderful. It accompanies the book very well. We know that many of these illustrations were AI-generated, and it's ok. There does seem to be a lack of consistency between them (stylistically).
This was certainly crafted with a lot of heart and love!
Check it out on Amazon!