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In this section we have brought together some of our favourite bedtime reads that we hope will become yours too.
My five year old son and I absolutely loved Don't Drink the Pink. In fact, he made me read it to him twice, one straight after the other, partly because he loved it and partly because he wanted to read it the second time after taking on board what happens in it. The book begins on Madeline's first birthday. Her beloved grandfather is always busy in his workshop cooking up, as it turns out, wonderful potions that give Madeline a superpower. Each year, on her birthday, she gets to choose a new potion but each time her grandfather tells her "just don't drink the pink". She gets to be tiny, to be a giant, to be able to move faster than a locomotive and, my personal favourite, to be able to build rollercoasters for herself and her friends. So many things about this book make it special. Firstly, it all rhymes which I think gives it a rhythmical flow that really keeps children (and their grown ups) interested. Secondly, the rhyme about not drinking the pink is the same for every birthday and it gave my son the opportunity to join in with the "just don't drink the pink" line with a big smile on his face. He can read perfectly well himself but it made it a nice joint endeavour. Thirdly, the story is fun and magical. There's a sad element to it but it's tempered by an uplifting ending. Finally, the illustrations are gorgeous and complement the story perfectly. They're colourful and give an accurate depiction of what is happening in the story. I really can't praise this book highly enough. Be aware, it does deal with the death of a relative but it's sensitively done and although my son did feel a bit sad at that bit, he bounced back with the ending. It's a fabulous little read for the 3-8 age group. Nicola Smith, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
If you are of a certain generation, you may remember reading, or having read to you, the original Grimm's Fairy tales. This collection of stories took me back to those childhood days. They are a little bit dark; somewhat unusual in their content, but very readable. I found the endings of some of them unsatisfactory, and I question how appropriate it is for a nine year old to read about a premature birth, in quite a bit of detail. Some of the stories have an Aesop's Fables slant to them, they certainly have a message to deliver, and I personally felt uncomfortable reading the Christian based tales, but that's just me. What I really liked was the dictionary at the end of each story which explains some of the more unusual, less common words. Each story is aimed at a particular age group, from age 9 to age 12, but that of course is just a rough guide. Each story is just long enough for a child to read at bedtime, and the collection provides a range of stories from different genres and cultures. An interesting change from some of the more generic short stories on offer today.
June 2019 Book of the Month | This beautifully observed story will resonate with children and adults alike and will repay reading over and over. Mia and Ben are best friends – the joy of their relationship perfectly depicted in Richard Jones’s illustrations which are full of the details of children’s lives but with a richness of colour and texture and composition that heightens the emotions. Everything changes when the sort of domestic tragedy familiar to lots of children happens – Ben’s family move away. At first the two are lonely and sad, but the story shows that their friendship still connects them and always will. Powerful feelings are expressed delicately and poignantly through words and pictures and this is an outstanding picture book.
May 2019 Book of the Month | Out walking, Elmer the Elephant is in a reflective mood, taking his time to soak up the sounds, smells and sights around him. He spots shapes in the clouds and in the sandstone rocks, he listens to the noise of the river crashing over a waterfall, notices the raindrops in a spider's web that look like sparkling diamonds and smells the scent of wild flowers. The other animals hurry past, far too busy to stop and enjoy these natural wonders. Fortunately Elmer meets his cousin Wilbur and they both stand happily together to watch the night-time draw in. This is a gentle introduction to mindfulness, a celebration of being in the moment and making time to appreciate the world around us. Head to over our KidsZone for more Elmer fun! Elmer the Elephant celebrates Elmer Day on 25 May 2019! Visit our Elmer the Elephant feature to find out more about the Elmer books and ways to celebrate Elmer's 30th Birthday!
This thoroughly charming picture book fills night-time with friendly bears and should delight little children. At night, when it’s dark and quiet, the Night Bear hops onto a night bus and sets off to find his dinner – nightmares. Travelling round he finds treats on doorsteps everywhere. Monsters with hideous eyes, dragons and scary pirates are all delicious, but a dream of rainbows and unicorns is so disgusting he has to give it away. The bear is super cuddly and lovable in Thiago de Moraes’ attractive illustrations and this will add fun and adventure to little children’s idea of the night, making it perfect bedtime reading.
April 2019 Debut of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month April 2019 | An ebullient debut picture book with a great twist which young readers will love spotting as the story unfolds. When Grandma loses her glasses, Isobel sets about helping her to find them. Searching in the garden they find a very big cat… Grandma loves cats and she is always taking in strays. Without her glasses she can’t really see just how big a bundle of orange fur that this new cat is! Nor can she work out why so much cat food is getting eaten. Young readers will spot that she is reading a story about a tiger which is probably very familiar to them. And they will realise that this cat is actually very closely related to the two tigers who come looking for it! Bold cats in strong colours are at the heart of this great story. Find colouring in and puzzle pages in this Big Cat Activity Pack - download here!
This is a much-loved classic but as relevant today as it was when first published in 1969! The vivid and colourful illustrations and cut back and die-cut pages, together with some very simple text, provide a wonderful story that is immensely satisfying for parents and children alike. It’s a book that’s more threadbare than most in the nursery in my house.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | If your dragon’s fire has gone out, you’ve got a real problem. There are several things you could try to ignite it again but the real solution to your problem may come as a surprise. Children will love the wild design of this book where text and pictures come together in chaotic glory. Vivid, inventive language will ignite young imaginations.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | Benji Davies’ new book is a story of escape that has a particular resonance for little children. Tad lives with her brothers and sisters in their pond. The smallest almost-a-frog she has to wiggle her tail twice as fast just to keep up, and they all know that Big Blub waits at the bottom of the pond for left-behind tadpoles. With Tad the very last tadpole in the pond there’s a touch and go moment, but in a glorious burst of light, her legs arrive just in time. It’s the perfect story to reassure any child worrying they’ll always be at the back, and Davies handles light and shadow brilliantly to create and control the drama. A beautiful and very special picture book.
February 2019 Debut of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month February 2019 | What better present can a princess receive than a pudding making machine! Soon puddings and cakes of all sorts are spilling out of the machine as the young Princess Hannah takes control of her fabulous birthday present. But the present has an unfortunate impact on the princess; it reveals that she has never had to share. Luckily, her friends take matters into their own hands and soon they too are pulling the levels and turning the wheels and together they all make the most fabulous puddingly treats – including a giant meringue. The moral is well mixed into this bubbly tale which is vibrantly told in verse by Sally Duran.
No matter how you start your day, What you wear when you play, Or if you come from far away, All are welcome here. Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcome. A school where children in patkas, hijabs, baseball caps and yarmulkes play side by side. A school where students grow and learn from each other's traditions. A school where diversity is a strength. Warm and inspiring, All Are Welcome lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a space, and they are welcome in their school. Engaging lyrical text and bright, accessible illustrations make this book a must for every child's bookshelf, classroom and library.
Best-selling and glorious Guess How Much I Love You has delighted children – and adults - for a quarter of a century. Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare want to tell each other just how much they love each other. But how do you measure love? Luckily, the two Hare’s know just how much they mean to each other. And Anita Jeram’s illustrations convey that brilliantly.
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.
Check out the latest activities in our KidsZone.