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4 Short Bedtime Stories Your Kids Will Love

Need some new 5 minute bedtime stories? Your kids will love these. 

There’s a puppy who needs a name, animals who become unlikely friends in a forest, a chipmunk who is judged for his looks and a mischievous girl who visits her granny. 

These short bedtime stories are great for building young kids’ listening skills.

Puppy Dreams 

by Becky Ross Michael

Illustrated by Dragana Stankovic

boy and girl holding a puppy

Dad walked into the kitchen, followed by the scent of a cool autumn afternoon. He placed bags of groceries on the counter, which Mom started to unload. “Yum,” she said, “this will be great for dinner.”

Sister checked the bags, hoping for a special treat. But Brother stood still as stone, gazing at his father. “Um, Dad…why’s your jacket moving like that?”

With a smile, Dad unzipped his coat. Nestled in the pocket of his shirt lay a little, black creature. Speechless at first, everyone stared.

“You didn’t,” Mom finally said.

“A puppy?” guessed Brother.

Dad lifted the wiggly mass of fur from his pocket and set it on the dark kitchen rug.

“Oooh!” yelled Sister in delight. At the sound of her loud voice, the tiny animal froze.

“I think you’ve scared him,” said Mom, reaching to pick up the small dog. As she did, a patch of wet rug was revealed from underneath him.

“Oops,” Dad said. “He had a boo-boo on the floor. Looks like we’ve got some potty training to do. I couldn’t resist. Someone was selling puppies from the back of their pickup outside the store. It was either that or off to the shelter. When I walked over, this little guy practically jumped into my arms.”

“I can just imagine,” Mom said with a grin.

“What’s his name?” Brother asked.

“That’s for you and your sister to figure out.”

The afternoon passed in a whirl of fun. Mom set up a feeding and watering area in the kitchen. Dad placed a comfortable, new pet bed in a corner of the living room. They all took turns guiding the puppy outside to avoid more potty accidents.

“Chester might be a good name,” suggested Mom, while they watched the puppy nap.

“Blackie would fit him because of his color,” Brother said.

“When I was a kid, we had a dog named Roamer,” said Dad. “Maybe that could be his name.”

“Not sure,” said Sister. The puppy yipped. “I’ll take him outside this time, while I’m thinking about a good name.”

***

“Time for bed,” Mom later announced. The sky had turned dark, and the children were yawning.

“What about the puppy?” Brother asked. “Can he sleep with me?”

“No, meee!” pleaded Sister.

“I didn’t get him a crate for sleeping yet,” Dad said. “But I don’t think this guy should be on the loose during the night. Too many chances for accidents.”

“That’s for sure,” agreed Mom. “There’s a big, empty box in the garage. It would be open on the top for air, but he wouldn’t be free to wander around the house. The living room is the warmest, so we can set it up right here.”

Disappointed, the children agreed and wandered off to get ready for bed.

***

Mom and Dad awoke in the morning, surprised they had slept all night through, without interruption. Creeping down the stairs followed by Brother, they discovered how that had happened. Sister lay on the living room carpet with her head on the pet bed next to the puppy. Both stirred when the others came into the room.

“I heard him crying,” explained Sister with a sleepy smile. “So I took him from the box for a snuggle. And I just had a dream about his name,” she added.

“You dreamed a name for him?” asked Brother.

“Well, I was dreaming about yesterday. In my dream, I heard Dad saying the puppy had a ‘boo-boo’ on the floor. Don’t you see? That’s his name!” she declared, looking back and forth at their faces. “He’s Boo-Boo!”

The dog let out a happy, little yip. And “Boo-Boo” he was, from that day forward!

Friends in the Forest

by Becky Ross Michael

Illustrated by Dragana Stankovic

two foxes in the forest

A tear slipped from Rosie the red fox cub’s eye. She tried to ignore it, as she walked lightly on her toes toward the family den. Mama fox heard Rosie and moved toward the entrance.

“Why so sad, Rosie?” her mother asked. “You’re usually happy when you return from chasing grasshoppers in the field with your fox friend, Scarlet.”

“Oh, Mama,” Rosie wailed. “She just told me the news! Scarlet and her family are moving to a different part of the forest to live by her grandma and grandpa. I may never see her again!” More tears filled Rosie’s eyes.

“I understand why you’re upset. But you’ll find a new friend before you know it,” her mother assured. “Now, come share some berries for dinner.”

***

The next day, Rosie decided to find a new friend. “Don’t go near the water, beyond the edge of the marsh,” warned her mother.

Catching sight of a grasshopper, Rosie moved quickly across the open field. While chasing and swatting at the insect, she came chin to chin with Russet, another red fox.

“Will you be my new best friend?” asked Rosie, swinging her bushy tail.

“I would, but I already have a best friend,” Russet answered, walking away.

Disappointed, Rosie moved toward the trees. Approaching a hollowed-out log, she saw Looney Raccoon, fast asleep. She gave him a nudge with a black-tipped paw. “Looney, will you be my new best friend?”

The raccoon yawned. “Go away; I’m trying to sleep. And no, I will not. I already have a best friend.”

So Rosie moved further into the trees, soon catching sight of Roberta Rabbit hopping along the trail. “Wait up,” called Rosie, but the rabbit continued to scamper. “Will you be my new best friend?” The rabbit stopped and twitched her nose.

“I already have a best friend,” Roberta said, turning to hop away.

Not ready to give up, Rosie the red fox moved toward the edge of the marsh. All of a sudden, she stopped and pricked up her ears at the sounds of moving leaves from above. Lifting her nose, Rosie saw Squiggy the black squirrel.

“Hellooo!” she called into the branches. “Will you be my new best friend?”

“Thanks for asking, but I already have a best friend,” he chattered.

Another animal hidden in the bushes listened and watched Rosie as she hung her head and walked to the edge of the marsh.

Blinded by tears, Rosie forgot to be careful about where she was stepping. Without warning, one of her black feet slipped into the water. Splash! Rosie suddenly wished she had paid more attention when Mama tried teaching her to swim. With four legs flailing this way and that, Rosie struggled to reach solid ground. Unexpectedly, she felt something grab the scruff of her neck, pulling her from the murky water.

“Who’s that?” cried Rosie, shaking water from her red fur. When her eyes finally cleared, she was surprised to see a gray fox cub.

“Are you okay?” the gray fox asked Rosie.

“Yes, and thanks for the help. I really need to practice my swimming.”

“I can assist with that. My name’s Pearl, and maybe I could be your new best friend.”

Rosie stared in surprise. “Gray foxes don’t usually like red foxes,” she said.

“My parents taught me to give everyone a chance,” Pearl answered. “So what if my coloring is different than yours and I’ll stay a bit smaller than you when I’m all grown up. What difference does any of that make?”

“You’re right!” answered Rosie. “I never really thought of it that way. I’d love for us to be best friends. Now, let’s go chase some grasshoppers!”

4 short bedtime stories pinterest image

Sulky and Stubby

by Becky Ross Michael

Illustrated by Dragana Stankovic

a squirrel by the pond

From where he sat on a tree, the lone chipmunk watched animals moving around below. Sulky the chipmunk was searching for others with handsome stripes just like his own. But he didn’t see anyone who looked exactly like his reflection in the still waters of the pond.

That’s okay, Sulky thought. At least I’ve found some cousins. And he ran down the tree to join them. 

Skittering along the path, Sulky first spotted a ground squirrel. She wore dark brown and tan stripes along her sleek brown back. “Hello!” greeted Sulky. “I’m happy to meet you, cousin!”

“You don’t look it,” grumped the ground squirrel. “No wonder they call you Sulky. You don’t appear very friendly with all those dark stripes on your face. You look rather mean.” And the ground squirrel scurried farther into the woods.

Does my striped face look mean? wondered Sulky. Surely, his other cousins would feel differently! He scampered away and soon met a groundhog.

“Hello!” said Sulky. “I’m happy to meet you.” 

“Doesn’t seem like it,” said the dull brown groundhog. “You look anything but happy.”

“Really? I feel glad. And we’re cousins, you know,” the chipmunk pointed out.

“That may be, but I want nothing to do with you,” grouched the groundhog, waddling away.

Suddenly, something stirred up ahead. Sulky caught sight of a wispy red squirrel’s tail. “Hello,” said the hopeful chipmunk. “I’m happy to meet you.” 

“I wouldn’t have known it by looking at you,” sassed the squirrel. “If you want to be friendly, you need to look the part.” 

“But this is just how I look on the outside,” cried Sulky. “My face has nothing to do with what I think and feel. Besides, we’re cousins.”

“Doesn’t matter,” answered the red squirrel. “I spend time with those who look much nicer than you.” 

With drooping ears, Sulky the chipmunk headed toward his burrow.

As he walked, an acorn caught Sulky’s eye. Guess I’ll take it home to eat later, he thought. As he reached for the nut, Sulky came nose-to-nose with another animal. Hesitating, he pulled back a bit to examine this new arrival. Light stripes decorated his face. And he was marked with dark stripes along his brown back and tai…wait a minute. Where was the rest of his tail???

“I know exactly what you’re thinking,” chattered the other chipmunk. “What happened to him…am I right? They call me ‘Stubby’ because I lost part of my tail in an accident when I was just a little kit.” 

“Oh, I didn’t notice,” answered Sulky. 

“Thanks for your kindness, but it’s the very first thing everyone sees. Then they get embarrassed and don’t even try getting to know me.”

“I understand perfectly. My cousins don’t like these dark stripes on my face. They say I look mean and call me ‘Sulky.’”

“Looks aren’t important,” said Stubby. “How we act should be what matters most.”

“That’s right!” Sulky agreed. “And you can have this acorn. I think you probably arrived one paw-length before I reached it.”

“So polite of you,” Stubby said, with a swish of his short tail. “But here’s a thought. Let’s work together and gather acorns for both our homes.”

“Great idea!” answered Sulky, with happy eyes.

The two chipmunks scurried about, filling their cheeks with acorns. Along the way, they also found time to race and play. They smiled beneath twitching whiskers when their cousins asked to join in the games!

Family Fireworks

by Becky Ross Michael

Illustrated by Dragana Stankovic

grandma and daughter watching fireworks at night

DING said the elevator as Ella, Rae Ann, and Mom arrived on the second floor. After the door slid open, they walked down the hallway toward Grandma’s apartment. 

“I love your new place!” said Ella. 

“Thanks,” Grandma answered. “And we can watch the fireworks from my balcony or go downstairs after they get started.” 

“Okay,” said Mom. “It will be a while before dark.”

“Could I play your piano while we’re waiting?” asked Rae Ann, the younger sister.

“Sure,” said Grandma, leading her into the next room.

“I need to use the bathroom,” Ella said.

Mom pointed down the hallway.

In the bathroom, Ella looked around. She knew better than to touch anything dangerous, like sharp things or medicines. Ella just wanted to peek in some of Grandma’s cabinets. She flushed the toilet, washed her hands, and quietly opened a drawer. After squirting a touch of scented lotion on her hands, Ella rubbed them together. I sure hope they don’t notice the smell! 

Rae Ann was playing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” on the piano. Mom and Grandma chatted in the living room.

Quiet as a mouse, Ella opened another drawer. She found a hair drier and curling irons of various sizes. Moving those aside, Ella discovered several kinds of hairbrushes. She picked up a narrow, rounded brush and gazed into the mirror over the sink. Maybe I could get my hair to curl a bit. 

Imagining how Grandma might use it, she twirled the brush through the straight ends of her fine hair. 

What? Oh, no!  Somehow, the brush had become tangled in her long hair. In alarm, Ella pulled harder, twisting the brush this way and that, only making things worse.

“Ella, let’s go,” said Mom through the door. “We’ve decided to watch the fireworks from downstairs.”

“Just a minute,” said Ella. She pulled at the hairbrush until her head hurt. In the mirror, she saw bright red checks and alarmed eyes.  

“Now!” demanded Mom. 

Gulping tears, Ella entered the living room with the brush dangling from her hair. “It’s stuck…”

“No!” Mom shrieked. “You were bald until you were three and can’t afford to lose any of that hair!”

Rae Ann giggled. A look of concern filled Grandma’s eyes. 

“Come here,” Mom ordered. “Let me see if I can get that out.” Her hands shook as she worked on Ella’s tangled locks. 

“No, I can’t get it,” said Mom. “Ella, I can’t believe you did this. We might have to cut your hair. And we’re going to be late for the fireworks show.”

“Here, let me try,” Grandma said in a calm voice. She led Ella back into the bathroom and closed the door. Grandma worked slowly, releasing a few strands at a time.

“Wow, your hair is sure twisted around this. From now on, please ask before using my things, okay?”

“I will,” answered Ella.

“There’s just this one little clump that’s too snarled. I’d rather trim it off than break the hairs.” Grandma reached into the cabinet for small scissors. SNIP, SNIP.

“There we go. You’re all set.”

***

Ella’s head tingled. It could have been from all the excitement in the air. Most likely, she had a sore scalp from all that tugging!

The outdoors was still and warm. Cicadas sang in the distance. The dark sky exploded with light.

“Ooh,” said Grandma, “that was beautiful!” Minutes later, “Aah,” Grandma remarked, “that one was even better.”

Color, noise, and energy surrounded the family. Ella looked Grandma’s way, and they shared a secret smile.

About the author:

Becky is a former preschool director and elementary teacher, who grew up and then raised her own family in Michigan. She now gardens and works on her sunny balcony in North Texas. Writing for kids and adults, her pieces appear in magazines, anthologies, blogs (she is a regular writer for Empowered Parents), and children’s readers. In addition, she enjoys the challenge of working as a freelance editor. Visit the author at her personal blog, Platform Number 4!

author rebecca

I hope you’ve enjoyed these short bedtime stories for kids. 

For more stories about animals, read these funny stories or try these other listening activities with your kids.


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Bette

Sunday 13th of June 2021

Awesome, Becky! Shared on Facebook!

Tanja Mcilroy

Monday 14th of June 2021

They are great stories, Becky!

John W. Howell

Sunday 13th of June 2021

So nice to see Becky here with her four wonderful stories. Thank you, Tanja. Congratulations, Becky.

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