We love books in our house. Our bookshelves are overflowing with trips to Narnia and Hogwarts. Today I decided to bring order to our literary chaos. I did this by dividing the books up into two categories – 0-5yrs (Jess) and 6+ (Emily). Now each girl has an age appropriate range of stories in their bedroom.
The bit before bed is the best time for stories. I love snuggling up with my girls and whizzing off to eat cheese with French dinosaurs on the moon or discovering if rhinos really do love pancakes.
Here are my Top 5 bedtime book recommendations (ages 0-5), as selected by my very discerning 4yr old:
The Tiger Who Came To Tea (Judith Kerr)
This is a firm favourite with us, mainly because of the peels of laughter from Jess whenever the tiger dares to drinks all daddy’s beer. Ha Ha. As if! This book is such a classic. What’s not to love? Tiger comes to tea, eats family out of house and home, kid gets out of bath time and ends up with chips for dinner.
Owl Babies (Martin Waddell / Patrick Benson)
This is a much gentler story with a strong message for children that mummy (and daddy) will always be there. It’s especially comforting at bedtime when the lights are about to go out and darkness and solitude await.
The Velveteen Rabbit – adapted version (Margery Williams)
A controversial choice because of the outdated language (it was first published in 1922.) This story is set around a toy rabbit who wants to discover if he is real or not. Eventually he learns that when a child loves a toy then it becomes as good as real to them. This book really captures my kids’ imaginations. They both have a favourite toy like the Velveteen Rabbit which is threadbare and tatty but cherished above all others. These toys also happen to be the ones they snuggle up to every night when we’re reading stories together.
The Usborne Book of Bedtime Rhymes (Sam Taplin / Anna Luraschi)
This is the first book I ever bought Emily. I found it in Mothercare when she was five months. Emily was starting to settle in her own room at night and we were keen to implement a bedtime routine that would include storytime. This book contains a number of short, gentle bedtime rhymes – starting with bathtime and ending up with the moon ‘yawning in the sky.’ We would dim the lights, give her the last feed and then read the rhymes to her in soft voices. A proper bonding experience for all the family.
Guess How Much I Love You (Sam McBratney)
Living with a toddler can be a battlefield, and by the time bedtime swings around you’re often a bit tetchy with one another. I love this book because it reminds me that the tantrums are worth it. That despite all my moaning I wouldn’t change a thing, and that I love this crotchety little cross patch lying next to me with all my heart. Best of all, I know that she loves me just as much.
Have you any favourites to add? I’d love to know what you and your little ones enjoy reading at bedtime.