I have very fond memories of my Mum reading a bedtime story to me as a child and beleive this is what instilled a love of books in me from a very young age. Even now I can’t just get into bed without reading. No matter how tired I am, I always need at least a few lines before I can go to sleep!
So now I’m a mother myself, and from my daughter being only a few weeks old I have made bedtime stories part of our nightly routine, and still do 5 years later. I adore this quiet time when everything is peaceful and my little girl is all sleepy, relaxed and attentive. Here are our top bedtime picture books…
Say Goodnight to the Sleepy Animals by Ian Whybrow and Ed Eaves is such an adorable book. Cat sets off around the farm to say goodnight to all her animal friends, from the Barn owl to the Field mouse. The whole story is told in a simple rhyme with familiar animal sounds so that even the youngest children can get involved. The illustrations are stunning, and with soft ‘touch and feel’ characters which really bring the animals to life.
I really liked using this book to remind my daughter that everyone has their own place to sleep when she wanted to get into Mummy’s bed! At the end there’s a chance to say ‘goodnight just once more, but much quieter than before’ which is a nice way to finish up and quiet down ready for sleep. This book is suitable for toddlers from a very young age, and even now at five my daughter still likes this book, often having a go at reading herself.
Where The Fairies Fly by Jane Simmons is a firm favourite for my daughter, quite probably because she shares a name with the main character! Lucy loves to tell stories, she will make them up at any opportunity. So when Lucy’s little brother Jamie is struggling to sleep, she takes him on adventure in search of the dreamtime fairies. This really is a charming book. We both love the magical quality in both the story and beautiful illustrations. And really, what’s not to love about an adorable little girl with such a vivid imagination, who can make up such fabulous adventures? The language is a little more complex, and I’d recommend this for 3-5 year olds.
Kiss Good Night, Sam by Amy Hest tells the story of a cute little bear called Sam. It’s a dark and stormy night and Mummy bear is putting him to bed. Each time she asks ‘ready now?’ Sam calls ‘ Oh No…I’m waiting!’ As Mummy goes through the things he might want, his catchphrase is repetitive and fun and my daughter loves joining in. The best part comes when Mummy Bear remembers what Sam is waiting for and kisses him ‘Once, twice and then twice more’ which of course little ones will love playing along with. This is such a fun and gentle story, it’s one of my favourite bedtime books to read to my child!
Our final favourite bedtime story is definitely a modern classic. Laura’s Star by Klaus Baumgart is the sweetest little tale about a lonely girl who wishes for a friend. When she sees a star fall out of the sky, Laura rushes to rescue it and in doing so it would seem she has found the friend she craves. But as the star begins to fade, Laura realises that saving her new friend will mean letting them go. This a simple yet stunning book that will move the adults reading, as well as the children listening. But it’s not a sad ending, as doing what’s right is sure to make you happier than being selfish. This is a book that comes out night after night, and neither my daughter or myself ever get tired of it!
So, there’s a selection of our favourite bedtime books. What about you? Do you have a favourite bedtime story from childhood or one that you love sharing with your child? Leave a comment below and let me know!