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In this section we have brought together some of our favourite bedtime reads that we hope will become yours too.
Bedtime – anytime – is better with Elmer and here’s another gorgeous story starring this much-loved patchwork hero. Elmer is babysitting two little elephants and decides a good walk will tire them out. Everyone they meet suggests he tell them a bedtime story, and everyone has a different favourite to recommend. When he finally comes to settle the little elephants down for the night, which story will he choose? It doesn’t matter, because all three are asleep before they get to the happy ever after! This is of course a perfect bedtime story – gentle, funny and full of warmth. David McKee’s illustrations always dazzle, and here the jungle scenes are practically glow in the dark.
This punk rocker poodle is having a bad day and refusing everything including food, drinks brushing of teeth and washing. What happens when a young rebel decides that everything is just not right on this particular day? Absolutely everything that can be refused is refused, our hero wants to be left alone to do what they want without sharing, without eating, without rules. We all have days like this and can sympathise with our hero until, at last, tiredness sets in. There is nothing nicer when going to bed then a cuddle, a kiss and some warm milk to settle down for sleep. This is a gloriously anarchic look at a bad day for a toddler and would make good reading at the end of a difficult day. Presented as a poetic rap the rhyme and rhythm carry you through the difficult day for our grumpy youngster. Told with humour and warmth, full of colour this book will be a favourite for many young people.
A giant baby is on the loose and everything in the Kingdom is about to be destroyed! He tramples the forest and flattens houses and bridges, he sits on the train station and shakes the passengers out of a double decker bus. Neither the soldiers or the airforce can stop him. As he approaches the castle, the King and Queen shake in terror and call a meeting of all their best advisors. What is to be done to save the kingdom? Only the Princess has an answer. As she keeps saying, he is only a baby…Young readers will love this playful and imaginary realisation of a familiar family drama which is vividly captured in Bruce Ingman’s large scale illustration which blend real and imaginary worlds perfectly.
Flo and her dog Ebb have a wonderful moonlit adventure as they hunt for Morgawn, a mythical sea monster. Camping out on the beach with Mum, Flo and Ebb sit round the fire and look out at the starry night and wonder about the huge monster which might be lying in wait for them out there in the sea. It’s scary to think of but does she really exist? A beautiful book, full of wondering.
When Cherry Lost Terry by Penny Phillips and illustrated by Clare Mallison is a captivating children’s storybook written in limericks, with elaborate illustrations. The story opens with Anne the Antelope looking out to sea through her binoculars. This creates expectancy. What does she see? She and Billy Badger set off to investigate in his boat. Cherry the Cat jumps onto their boat from a passing ferry. She is searching for her friend, Terry, who fell overboard. We are kept guessing as to Terry's identity. We get a few clues along the way as we meet more and more animals who help in the search. The animal’s names charmingly all begin with the same letter as their animal species. They work together to help Cherry, which teaches children about helping others. The illustrations are gentle with restful colours and expressive animal faces. By the end of the book, it is night-time, Terry has been found and all the animals go to sleep. They are promised another adventure with Wayne the Whale the following day. Children, and those reading to them, will love the way the clever rhymes flow. The beautiful animal illustrations are also praise-worthy and will encourage discussion about animals. Susan Gibbs, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
Sunny the Sideloader by Anne and Louise Jordan is a remarkable children’s picture book, printed with vegetable ink on recycled paper. The colourful 3-D illustrations were created by building sets with real toy trucks, photographing them, and digitally altering them. There is plenty to promote discussion with young children as each background scene is very detailed. Caring for the environment, following instructions and teamwork are the themes of this entertaining, educational book. Sunny the Sideloader truck is excited to start working at the Sanitation Station in Workerville. He joins 7 other electric trucks called Forest, Electra, Gruff, Starletta, Mighty, Digit, and Sprout. They collect electronics, garbage, compost, and yard waste. Sunny is told by Manager Mike to follow Electra. He is so excited that he races off without her. He starts lifting bins at such a fast pace that piles of recycling fall out and litter the streets. Sunny is sad that he has made such a mess and worried about what his workmates will say. What will happen next? Can Sunny fix the mess he created and succeed in making Workerville a clean city? This engaging unique book will appeal to children up to age 5 or 6, especially truck lovers and environmentally aware readers. Susan Gibbs, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month April 2022 | A sweet and gentle story capturing a very special friendship that develops between a panda and a little boy who are brought together by a captivating tune. Chi is a shy panda who lives a quiet life listening to all the sounds of the beautiful forest around her home. One day as she listens she hears the sound of lyrical music weaving its way through the mist. Following the sound takes her to its source: a small boy blowing on a bamboo. How Chi and the little boy become friends and help each other is a touching story set in an evocatively created, soft focused forest of bamboo. You can find more books with this theme in our Collection of Brilliant Books about Friendship
It is evening and the big and little hedgehog are slowly making their way home. There is so much to see, and the little one wants to take it all in. Each step of the way the big hedgehog patiently asks, “What are we waiting for now?” The little hedgehog’s answers unfold in a series of lush landscapes as the two animals wait for the sun to set, for birds to fly by, for the moon and stars to appear, and for the world around them to prepare for sleep. At last, the little hedgehog is also asleep, carried home in the big hedgehog’s arms. Perfect for naptime, bedtime—or for any time that asks that we take a moment and slow down— Teckentrup’s signature combination of simple text and soothing illustration will appeal to readers young and old.
Noah and his Nana are enjoying a day on the beach. Little Noah is looking out for seals, while Nana fixes their sailing boat. With no seals in sight, he sculpts one out of sand, two shiny pebbles for eyes and a piece of seaweed for a mouth. Together they lie on the sand, dreaming of the wild wide sea, until something magical happens and as Nana and Noah set out in the boat, there are special friends to meet them. Perfectly told with warm, rich illustrations matching a story that celebrates family love as well as the power of a child’s imagination, this is a satisfying and rewarding picture book.
A gentle and reassuring bedtime story starring a little mouse, this picture book is also an effective introduction to mindfulness for the very young and a manual for parents and carers on how to help children prepare for bed and relax into sleep. Author Magali Mialaret is a well-being coach and the story is preceded by her clear and useful notes, and three easy to follow steps to healthy bedtime practice. She explains how encouraging children to do the things that Big Mouse tells Little Mouse to do in the story – for example, placing their favourite cuddly toy on their chest and watching it rise and fall as they breathe – will calm them down and help them feel more grounded. The illustrations by Carmen Saldaňa are very sweet and appealing and the book’s effect could be long-lasting.
With quirky, characterful illustrations by the unmistakeable Ralph Steadman, Bernard Stone’s Emergency Mouse is perfect for putting little ones at ease ahead of hospital stays or visits. Gently funny, and warm-hearted to the core, the cast of cute mouse characters with various ailments and their medical attendants will surely provide reassurance and light relief. Poor Henry. He’s in hospital for an operation. It’s midnight, and everyone is asleep except him. To try to take his mind off his pain, Henry “tried to think of all the things he liked doing best”. After thinking about his poorly pet mouse, Henry notices some rather strange goings-on in his ward. A host of mice bustle from little doors in the skirting board and assemble a miniature hospital, with white-coated mice doctors working hard to cure their patients, among them Limping Mouse, Tropical Mouse, Fuss-pot Mouse, and Champion Mouse. After witnessing a thrilling race against time, Henry wakes to the welcome news that he’s well enough to go home. What’s more, his own little mouse is better too!
April 2022 Debut of the Month | If you’re a bear who loves honey, this is absolutely the book for you. It’s a must for everyone else too, a wonderfully funny spoof guide starring a bear, our would-be beekeeper making up for in enthusiasm what he lacks in skills. An astute pigeon comments from the side-lines on the bear’s progress, making everything even funnier. From finding the bees to building a hive (NB as a note explains, bears with limited access to power tools may prefer to buy a ready-made hive) and harvesting the honey, the bear learns it all through trial and quite a lot of error. He’s rewarded with as much honey as he could wish for, though there’s still a sting in the tail. The bear’s education process is wonderfully comic and children and parents will laugh their way through the story. They will also, incidentally, learns lots about bees and beekeeping. It’s delicious!
There’s huge fun to be had in this gloriously interactive book which is a spur to imaginative play as well as a great introduction to familiar colours and shapes. A singing button, a tickle button and many more. All young readers will be delighted by the invitation to press each one. Once they have done so many possibilities open up as they head off into whatever invention they choose to imagine. Sally Nicholls uses her word carefully and with pleasing simplicity and Beth Woollvin’s illustrations add special details of their own.
Longlisted for the Klaus Flugge Prize 2022 | 'Where land becomes sky and the sky becomes sea, I first saw the whale, and the whale first saw me. And high on the breeze came his sweet-sounding song 'I've so much to show you, if you'll come along'. Come on a magical journey of wonder and discovery from misty seaside shorelines to cold ice capped seas. This beautiful tale of friendship between a child and a whale invites us to consider our responsibilities towards the environment and makes a direct plea to end plastic pollution.
Bedtime is a special time and we all have our favourite books that we love to read over and over....but sometimes we need new recommendations, and that is where we come in!
All bedtime routines are different. Some have a bath, others a warm drink but the best routines end with a cuddle and a good book.
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