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In this section we have brought together some of our favourite bedtime reads that we hope will become yours too.
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.
Mummy makes every day special, so it's about time she had her own perfect day full of all her favourite things. Mummy makes us happy even when it's hard to do, wouldn't it be wonderful to make her happy too? This brother and sister know exactly what Mum loves: her favourite foods, flowers, and pictures painted by them. They arrange it all for Mummy's special day, but nothing seems to go to plan. Luckily, the thing Mummy enjoys best is spending time with her little ones. A heartwarming story, perfect to snuggle up with on Mothers Day, a birthday, or any special day at all!
The Toys’ Christmas is the kind of book that chilly days or evenings were made for, a heart-warming story of toys undertaking a journey through the snow for the love of their child owners. It’s Christmas Eve and little Noah should be going to sleep, but where’s Fanfan, his beloved toy elephant? Over the page, readers see Fanfan walking through the snow, heading to a very important meeting. Along with other favourite toys, he’s on his way to see – who else? – Santa Claus. It’s the toys’ job to tell him what their children really want for Christmas. Not every request is in Santa’s power to give – the child who desperately wants a little brother for example – but everyone gets gifts that will make them happy. It’s a lovely, cosy story, perfectly matched by soft pastel and coloured-pencil illustrations, toys and Noah too exceedingly huggable.
This beautiful first reader is perfect for reading together at bedtime, with Matilda Woods’s atmospheric story evoking an endearing cast of characters, and a lovely sense of working together. Penny Neville-Lee’s full-colour illustrations are a boon too - perfect for encouraging newly-independent readers to enjoy their first chapter book. The Night Train is a wonderful thing - it delivers its passengers to children’s dreams, among them a hairy white yeti, a footballer turned ballerina, Princess May, and a big friendly monster. When a fallen tree stops the train in its tracks and it looks like the children of Sleepy Town will miss out on being visited by their favourite dream characters, the passengers use their varied talents to work together so the Night Train reaches its destination in time. With plenty to talk about - and be enchanted by - throughout the journey, this sweet story is sure to leave little ones ready for sweet-dream-filled slumber.
Full of a sense of tenderness but also possibilities, Songs for our Sons contains every wish you could have for a young boy growing up today, from ‘Never change, fib or follow, just to try to fit in./Be proud, free and happy in your own, unique skill’, to ‘Keep a still place inside, that you can call home/ and know how to find it, wherever your roam.’ The text is touching, heartfelt and always uplifting, while Ashling Lindsay’s illustrations depict children playing in a range of settings, from green fields to desert cities and magic trees, bold colours and shifting perspectives making every turn of the page an adventure. Giving this and receiving it, both will be a real joy.
It’s Christmas Eve so of course everyone is looking out for Santa. Are those reindeer antlers we can see through the window? Is that his red suit we can glimpse in the kitchen? Or his red hat behind the Christmas tree? The excitement grows from page to page as we open the special flaps to find – not Santa, but something equally festive. There he is on the final page though, and exactly where he should be! This little board book is lots of fun. The very young will love opening the flaps and joining in with the repeated refrain, ‘I’m going to catch Santa!’ There are Christmas treats on every page and that surprise pop-up ending will set everyone giggling. Peeks and pops and good cheer all round!
Produced by Tickled Moon this very jolly Christmas story can be personalised so that your own son/daughter/niece/nephew or godchild can take the starring role. They’ll be the child in bed woken up on Christmas Eve not by Father Christmas but a huge, hairy, seven toed though friendly monster. It’s the Christmas Boo, and his talent for surprising people is put to very good use in the climax to the story. This action-packed, brightly illustrated, funny adventure will make Christmas extra fun for children who will love finding themselves the star. They’ll enjoy spotting their name as it pops up in all sorts of places, while there are extra fun and games – a beetle to find on every page for example. For presents offering young book lovers something really special – at any time of year – it’s well worth visiting the Tickled Moon website.
We all have a place in our hearts for the adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh, as told by A.A. Milne in Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner. In honour of the 95th anniversary of Winnie-the-Pooh, highly talented author Jane Riordan has created a wonderful collection of stories, written in the style of A.A. Milne, that take us back to when it all began, when Winnie-the-Pooh was first purchased for baby Christopher Robin.
From the inventive author-illustrator of the award-winning There’s a Bear on My Chair comes this smart sequel, and boy has Ross Collins delivered again. It’s a rollicking, rhyming, visually-pleasing treat in which it turns out that Bear isn’t terribly keen on getting a taste of his own medicine (to begin with, at least). The cause of Bear’s irritation is the presence of Mouse in his house (yes, the very same Mouse on whose chair Bear presumptuously sat in the first book). In Bear’s outraged words, “That rodent can’t live here, oh no! I’ll tell him that he has to go.” Of course, Mouse refuses to leave and proceeds to cause chaos in Bear’s house, before a mob of partying mice turn up. But then - the twist! – when Bear realises “Hey! These mice are nice!” With wonderful interplay between text, illustration and design, this is excellent for reading aloud - the kind of book that will have toddlers urging for it to be read again, and again (and again) while completing the rhymes before adults have chance to read them.
A gorgeously warm and relatable story from the brilliant Jill Murphy, featuring the much-loved Bear Family from classic picture book Peace at Last. Mr and Mrs Bear wake up late. It's raining outside, and Baby Bear is late for nursery. Then Mrs Bear sits on her glasses at work and Mr Bear spills his coffee! Oh dear - it seems this is just going to be one of those days! But the loveable Bear family muddle through cheerfully, and there's even a surprise for Baby Bear when Mr Bear gets home from work. With all the hallmarks of an instant firm favourite, Just One of Those Days is a big-hearted story about a family day, which parents and children everywhere will relate to. Full of satisfying repetition and rhythm and delightful illustrations, Just One of Those Days is a must-have for all Jill Murphy fans, old and new.
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.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Award 2022 ages 3-6 | Shortlisted for CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2021 | Having suffered heatwaves and COVID anxiety, we can all empathise with the tired and grumpy Arlo who just cannot sleep. The hero of the Greenaway medal winner’s new book speaks to us all, but particularly to over-tired and over excited small children who do not know how to let go of the day. Luckily for Arlo, and for children, Owl is to hand with some useful advice on how he manages to sleep when everyone is awake during the day. The logic of receiving advice from a nocturnal animal will really register with this audience. “Have a good stretch from your nose to your toes/ Do a little wriggle, let your eyes gently close/Relax your whole body, slow your breathing right down/ Imagine you’re sinking into the soft ground". The gentle refrain that Owl teaches Arlo is the perfect antidote for us all- a little bit of mindfulness that would also be a lovely calm down routine in the classroom! Not only are the illustrations a visual feast, with a stunning colour palette marking the transitions between night and day, but Arlo and Owl are beautifully characterised. Another trademark from this hugely talented author is the warm humour. Arlo is so excited by his long and restful sleep that he must tell Owl- and wakes him up! The song is reciprocated with success and their joint celebrations at dusk wake the rest of the neighbourhood and a duet is required to restore calm. The repeated refrain will be one that is copied in homes and classrooms everywhere. Useful for mindfulness and as an introduction to Night and Day topics, this stunning book is a real triumph of beautiful words and images working in absolute harmony.
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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