First, let me give you a statistical analysis of my children.

Ages: 8,6,2.5,2.5,1.5

Special Needs: ADHD, dyslexia, autism, sensory processing

3 boys, 2 girls

Why do those things matter? Well, it’s rare for us to find a good bedtime story that will suit every child in the family. 

That’s why Goodnight Jesus is so welcome.

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The story follows the baby main character as he or she kisses the icons, Cross, Bible, and family goodnight. If that sounds really sweet, it is. Everyone in the family likes this book.

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Especially the toddlers. See the smudges on the pages in the photo? Baby kisses.

There was one major dilemma we encountered in reading this book, though. 

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We have an icon of the Myrr-Bearing Women in our house, but…

Should we kiss the book or the actual icons in our home?

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The Family Chapel with most of the icons is two storeys away from the bedtime story chair.

As you can tell from the impressive, professional-quality crayon drawing above, our family chapel that contains most of the icons listed in the book is two flights of stairs and several hallways away from our bedtime story spot.

We decided to let the kids kiss the pictures in the book and see what happened. Guess what happened?

The toddlers started seeking out the icons of the Theotokos in their bedrooms, as well as the small patron saint icons we leave accessible to them at all times. They give them kisses more often now!

Run-Down of Responses

Our three toddlers, including our son with autism, had no trouble associating the drawings with the Gospel book at church and the regular icons in our home and church. They love hearing the book over and over and taking turns kissing the pages. Since we’ve started reading Goodnight Jesus, the littles have made the leap between venerating at church and venerating at home. They go looking for their little icons, kiss them, and place them back on their little shelves before playing again.

Our older two like the book well enough to ask questions about the icons shown. Since my husband is an iconographer, they see and hear a fair bit about different icons. Some of their questions have been about the style of the icons, some about the people in them. The board book is targeted to the younger crowd, but I think it says a lot about the simple yet deep resonance of the story that my older children could also discuss it and not get annoyed with having the story repeated often.

The parents. {stage whispering to the side while main blog post continues, like the fools in Shakespeare plays} Okay, you know the real question here. Yes, it’s pious. Yes, it’s pretty. Yes, it’s cute and accessible to little kids. But we all really want to know if it’s annoying to read 2-4-6-8-10 times in a row. I have good news for you. It is not annoying. There isn’t a cloying rhyme scheme. Everything is natural and sweet in a child-like way. The drawings are bright but tired-eyes-at-the-end-of-the-day-friendly. It’s a winner.

Was the book ADHD-friendly? Yes! It has built-in actions that help engage a child with wiggles.

Was it sensory issue-friendly? Yes! The repetition lets our little one who takes time processing sounds take her time processing sounds, and the reinforcement in the images makes the book easy to grasp.

How about autism-friendly? Yes! The picture prompts work great for our son with extreme language delay, and the illustrations hit the sweet spot on interesting/overstimulating balance. There’s just enough detail for him to like taking his time looking over the book on his own AND he can follow along while we read without having a sensory overload. As you already know if you follow this blog, my son eats books he really likes.

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This book is Basil-approved.

We’ve been excited about Goodnight Jesus for months, so we ordered a copy right away on Amazon when it came out. Alas, it was backordered. Before our copy came in the mail, I was contacted by Ancient Faith Publishing to see if I’d be interested in writing an honest review of the book in exchange for a free copy. Of course I said yes! We always have to buy two or three copies of good books anyhow, so this was a win-win.

You can pick up your copy of Goodnight Jesus at the {Ancient Faith Store} or on {Amazon — affiliate link}. This is a wonderful book for baby showers, godchild gifts, Christmas presents, or any other occasion in which you’d like to give a child an enjoyable gift.