In this section we have brought together some of our favourite bedtime reads that we hope will become yours too.
A bad mood gives rise to a really joyous picture book. Duck is cross and out of sorts. She can’t paddle in the pond because it’s dry and she’s got no-one to play with. The other animals invite her to play with them but by then she’s really sulking, so deep in her bad mood – represented by an ever-growing black cloud over her head – that she grumps at them all, spreading her tetchiness. Then finally the black cloud bursts and all the animals, led by Duck, come together for a splashy, playful, raucous rendition of Singing in the Rain. Children will understand exactly how Duck feels, while Petr Horacek’s jewel-bright, richly textured artwork is spectacularly beautiful.
This lovely story of friendship and understanding plays out to a soundtrack of monster rock and roll! Dave’s days of romping through the countryside and causing chaos are long over. Banished to Echo Rock, the old monster spends his days alone, with only his guitar for company. At least that is until Percival arrives, six years old, dressed in his knight outfit and ready for a fight. But once Dave points out that monsters have feelings too, they become firm friends, with a shared liking for classic riffs and watching the jousting on TV. When the townspeople turn up looking for a fight, Percy has to teach them a lesson too. Great fun to read and Sara Ogilvie’s delightful illustrations are full of life and energy.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month September 2018 | As befits its subtitle ‘A Children’s Book of Mindfulness’, Happy is a sensitive and calming introduction for young readers on how to engage with the beauty of the world to help them to deal with the big emotions of life. Through its poetic text matched with warmly domestic illustrations it takes readers on a journey from ‘Mindfulness’ to ‘Happiness’ allowing space to reflex on topics such as ‘Listening’, ‘Relaxing, ‘Feeling’, ‘Loving’ and ‘Smelling’
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award Perfect for the end of every day, award-winning Chris Haughton captures the soothing time as the sun goes down and all the animals begin to fall into a deep sleep….All except Little Bear who is wide awake despite the yawning and sighing of all those around him. When even Little Bear stretches a great big stretch and yawns a great big yawn it really is goodnight for everyone. ~ Julia Eccleshare
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month May 2018 Award winning Lane Smith celebrates the simple delights of Cat who loves the warmth of the sun, and Dog who loves the cool of the water, and Bird who loves birdseed. All are set for a perfect day…But then Bear turns up! Suddenly the day looks very different. With almost no words, Lane Smith’s illustrations set the scene of the story brilliantly and then allow the reader to fill in exactly what happens in their own way. Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for May 2018 Square by Mac Barnett A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge A Perfect Day by Lane Smith Gaspard the Fox by Zeb Soanes & James Mayhew Wonder Goal! by Michael Foreman The Sand Dog by Sarah Lean The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell Plantopedia by Adrienne Barman
A delightful board book with simple rhyming text and engaging interactive pictures. Children will be able to find characters that are mentioned in the text, such as Mother Hubbard and Cinderella. Wonderful detail in the illustrations provides endless entertainment in that with each view you find yet more in them – so clever and yet so simply done. Janet was an artist extraordinaire whose life was sadly cut short by illness some years ago. ~ Julia Eccleshare Kate Greenaway Medal winner in 1978.
Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2018 | In a story full of hope against adversity, King of the Sky tells how flying a homing pigeon helps a young boy comes to terms with his life in a strange country far, far from home. Now living under grey skies in a country where he feels an outsider, a young boy misses the blue sky, warm sun and of ice cream of his home in Rome. But when he his racing pigeon returns to him safely from Rome the boy realises that home is where he is and he finds a new sense of belonging. ~ Julia Eccleshare
Children and adults will take very different things from this clever picture book but both will enjoy it enormously. Flynn is excited, he’s got a new bed – we guess that he’s moving into a big bed for the first time. But something’s already in it – an enormous walrus, and it doesn’t seem very comfortable. Flynn does his best ferrying up snacks and milk and extra pillows but it seems that neither of them will get any sleep, let alone Mum and Dad. Children will love the absurdity of the situation and adults will identify with the long-suffering parents trying unsuccessfully to settle Flynn down for the night. Lots of fun, and this provides lots to talk about too.
Children who like their stories filled with larger-than-life characters, crazy comedy and the reassuring sense that love and goodness will win out, will really enjoy A.L Kennedy’s Uncle Shawn books. In the first book in this series, little Badger Bill needed rescuing from a particularly nasty couple; now the tables are turned and everyone’s best friend Uncle Shawn has been locked up by the awful ‘Dr’ P’Klawz, whose ambition is to rid the country of all types of fun and – above all – Unusualness. The action is fast and very funny, and leaves readers in no doubt that unusualness in every form is to be encouraged. Filled with some wonderful images (P’Klawz grins ‘like a cruel iceberg’) it’s made for reading aloud, and Gemma Correll’s black and white illustrations are an added treat.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month April 2018 A charming story of bedtime fears with a neat twist to it. Dora and all her toys wake up grouchy and grumpy after a night spent tossing and turning on account of the scary noises coming from the wardrobe. Penguin, Bear, Lion and Dora herself had all been terrified and not one of them is looking forward to the next night. But the next time the banging from the wardrobe starts up, Dora and her friends bravely open the cupboard door…Nicely scary as well as appropriately reassuring. ~ Julia Eccleshare A message from the author, Bryony Thomson; ‘The Wardrobe Monster originated in my memories of going to boarding school when I was very young. I remember trying to get to sleep in an enormous dormitory that contained a lot of lurking shadows and unexplained noises once darkness fell. I remember feeling silly for being frightened and so through The Wardrobe Monster I wanted to show that it is ok to be scared - everyone is, even those who put on a good facade - but in the end things aren’t usually as bad as they seem in the middle of the night. I guess I was aiming to create the kind of story that would have made my eight year- old self feel better!’ Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for April 2018 The Grotlyn by Benji Davies The Book Case: An Emily Lime Mystery by Adam Stower Lady Mary by Lucy Worsley The Wardrobe Monster by Bryony Thomson The Tale of Angelino Brown by David Almond You Are Awesome by Matthew Syed
The Elmer books are stunning to look at, with their jewel-like colours and fabulous jungle scenes, but they teach children about kindness, acceptance and generosity too. You don’t have to be different to be special, says Elmer at the end of this lovely story, an important message for all. He’s been busy looking for Baby Elephant’s teddy, lost in the jungle. Not only does Elmer happily give up his time but he lends Baby Elephant his own much-loved teddy until the lost bear can be found. The story is full of incident as the hunt takes Elmer far and wide, and there’s a funny surprise at the end as he finally discovers the lost bear, and it appears – temporarily at least - that it can speak. Elmer rules! ~ Andrea Reece
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.