Everybody knows that today is World Book Day 2017 (loving the photos of all the costumes on social media!) but were you aware it’s also National Bed Month? Wahoo for books and bedtimes – definitely two of our favourite things!
As Jo is a Secondary English Teacher by profession, and Lauren is about to finish her English degree with a module on children’s literature, it was only a matter of time before we started introducing you to the children’s books we love. Suffice to say, the girls adore reading. Often, when we investigate why things have suddenly gone quiet, they can be discovered sitting amongst a pile of books, ‘reading’ to themselves. Bedtime reading is crucial, not only for routine but for creating a safe and secure feeling to help children wind down.
So, in honour of National Bed Month, we have put together a selection of our favourite books for bedtime, though they can be enjoyed at any time of day 🙂 All titles are clickable (Amazon) if you want to read further reviews and ‘Look inside’ some of the books.
- One Ted Falls Out of Bed by Julia Donaldson & Anna Currey
Bought by Jo’s boss when Primrose was born, it became a firm favourite for daytime reading. Once a bedtime story was needed (Sarah Ockwell-Smith’s recommendation to read the same story nightly, rather than stimulating your child with new stories each night is a useful tip) this was the obvious choice.
About a teddy who goes on a night time adventure around his owner’s bedroom, before realising that he would actually rather be snuggled up in bed, it is repetitive without being boring, and rythmically paced, with numbers from 1-10 and then 10-1 encouraging a gentle winding down to sleep time.
If you use very dim/red lighting in your child’s bedroom, it is easy enough to memorise quickly, so it can be read by heart. It is available as a paperback and a hardback.
- The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson and Beth Krommes
Krommes’ illustrations are simply beautiful – it is no wonder that she has been awarded The Caldecott Medal for it. The largely monochrome images make this book accessible to even the newest of arrivals and the flashes of yellow from the sun, moon, stars candles and lamps gently illuminate objects and figures on every page.
Again, this is a lovely daytime read, especially at the age the girls are now, as they can name the things they spot – Primrose is currently obsessed with moons and stars, so enjoys pointing them out.
Any of the books listed here would make lovely gifts but this one is perhaps the most ‘special’ in terms of visual appeal.
Available in the UK as a board book.
- On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman.
A visually stunning book, filled with gentle watercolour images of polar bears, frogs, giraffes and ducks. The sentiment in the title runs throughout the book and there is a part where your child’s name is added, making it feel personalised just for them.
The simple rhyme scheme and use of natural imagery has a calming, soporific effect. The moon is pictured on every page, too, after the opening sentence: ‘On the night you were born, the moon smiled with such wonder that the stars peeked in to see you and the night wind whispered, “Life will never be the same.”
Again, this would make a lovely gift for new parents – it really feels like a tribute to parenthood and no child can ever be told enough just how loved they are.
Available as a board book or paperback.
- Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury
Maybe it’s because Helen Oxenbury’s illustrations remind us of our own childhood (The Jolly Postman, anyone?) or maybe it’s Mem Fox’s repeated sentiment of all children being born equal, with ten fingers and ten toes, yet special in their own way, but we are a sucker for this book.
Babies delight at seeing pictures of other babies and all those featured in this book are realistic enough to engage even the very young. For slightly older children, it is also a great book for encouraging inclusivity and diversity. The repetition and counting throughout create the perfect rhythm for bedtime and the final section, ending with ‘three little kisses’ on your baby’s nose, makes it the ideal book for a goodnight snuggle.
Available as a board book or paperback.
- Goodnight Everyone by Chris Haughton
Jo’s household are massive Chris Haughton fans! If you haven’t seen Ssh! We Have a Plan, A Bit Lost or Oh No! George, check them out immediately! Goodnight Everyone is Haughton’s most recent and is definitely one for bedtime, rather than the other three, which are daytime staples, all eliciting funny noises, faces and laughter galore!
With the solar system and detailed night skies pictured inside the front and back covers, this book will grow with your child. The story itself is perfect for tiny babies upwards (despite Amazon’s age 2-5 recommendation!), with its bold and bright though slightly muted colour palette, Haughton’s trademark illustrations of sleepy animals and the mesmerising repetition of yawning, snoring, stretching and sighing. Some reviewers have referred to it is ‘boring’ but they seem to be missing the point – it has the perfect rhythm for helping wee ones nod off!
Frustratingly only currently available as a hardback – a board or even a paperback version would make reading to smaller babies whilst holding them much easier.
- Max at Night by Ed Vere
Meet the endearing Max, also featured in Max the Brave and Max and the Bird. Again, Amazon has put an annoying 3-5 year recommendation on this but our 17 month old loves it. Max says goodnight to everything around him but cannot find the moon, who is peskily hiding behind a cloud.
Max’s bright yellow eyes seem to shine out from the pages as he ventures out to find the moon and the paint-splatter stars cover almost every page. The use of repetition and the final refrain of, ‘Max is snoring, snoring, snoring…’ provide a calming rhythm, making this another great bedtime option.
Available as a hardback or paperback.
- Snuggle Bunny by Jon Lambert
This book was given to Lauren in her baby shower bundle and it has been the bedtime book of choice since Milla was a few weeks old. It’s beautifully rhythmic, and full of soft sounding words, designed to lull littlies to sleep. The star of the show is Snuggle Bunny, an extremely soft puppet that accompanies readers through the story of getting ready for bed. There are lots of helpful messages, “Snuggle Bunny’s tired, he’s had a busy day, it’s time to finish playing, and put our toys away”, plus more about brushing teeth, etc. and lots of opportunity for interaction. The illustrations are colourful and fun and, combined with the soft puppet, make this a book that grows with a child; Milla first watched in awe at Snuggle Bunny, then at the illustrations, and now points to the different objects and animals and names them. No doubt the final words, “Sweet dreams, and kiss goodnight”, will be a mainstay for bedtimes until she moves out!
Available in hardback and one for the bedtime bookshelf.
Happy World Book Day, and happy reading, Mother Siders! Share with us your little one’s favourite bedtime read.
The Mother Side xx